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Use of your NHS number in Adult Social Care

 

If you are receiving support from Adult Social Care then the NHS may share your NHS number with Adult Social Care. This is so that the NHS and Adult Social Care are using the same number to identify you whilst providing your care. By using the same number the NHS and Adult Social Care can work together more closely to improve your care and support.

Your NHS number is accessed through NHS Digital, via an NHS service called the Personal Demographic Service (PDS). Adult Social Care sends basic demographic information that has been collected from the Service User or their representative, such as your name, address and date of birth to the PDS so they can find your NHS number. Once retrieved from the PDS the NHS number is stored on the Service User’s confidential record within Adult Services’ case management system, in line with the retention policy. The NHS number then has two uses, the first being a unique identifier to allow social care information to be displayed in the Tameside Care Record (integrated care record) the second being the inclusion of the NHS number on a limited set of printed material that is used by health and social care colleagues in the provision of direct care.

The Tameside Care Record is currently in development and will provide health and social care professionals directly involved in care with access to the most up-to-date information about a patient. It does this by sharing appropriate information between health and social care services at the time of patient contact. Information is linked together through use of the NHS number. GP’s, Hospitals, District Nurses and Social Workers across Tameside will be taking part in Tameside’s Care Record. Access to information within the Tameside Care Record will be strictly controlled based on the role of the professional. For example, social workers will only have access to information that is relevant to the execution of their care duties.

TMBC are the Data Controller under the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998 and we are legally responsible for ensuring that all personal information that we process i.e. hold, obtain, record, use or share about you is done in compliance with the 8 data protection principles. All data controllers must notify the Information Commissioner’s Office of all personal information processing activities. Our registration number is Z5861307 and our entry can be found on the Information Commissioner’s Office website: http://www.ico.org.uk

All of our staff, contractors and committee members receive appropriate and on-going training to ensure they are aware of their personal responsibilities and have contractual obligations to uphold confidentiality, enforceable through disciplinary procedures. Only a limited number of authorised staff have access to personal information where it is appropriate to their role and is strictly on a need-to-know basis.
The use of joined up information across health and social care brings many benefits. One specific example where this will be the case is the discharge of patients into social care. At the moment delays in discharge (commonly known as bed blocking) can occur because details of social care involvement are not readily available to the staff on the hospital ward. The hospital simply does not know who to contact to discuss the ongoing care of a patient. The linking of social care and health information via the NHS number will help hospital staff quickly identify if social care support is already in place and who the most appropriate contact is. Ongoing care can be planned earlier in the process because hospital staff will know who to talk to.
In addition the sharing of information will bring the following benefits:

  • Better co-ordinated and safer care across health and social care enabled through the sharing of real-time information.
  • Better coordination of discharges from hospital into social care, as explained above
  • More time to spend on planning and co-ordinating social care because health staff can identify and involve social care staff earlier in the process.
  • Earlier intervention to maximise the opportunities or reablement services leading to greater independence for patients
  • Less paperwork and more efficient use of social care resources

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The NHS number may also be printed on a subset of social care documentation (if a printed copy is necessary) that is specifically used to communicate between health and social care organisations, a small number of documents have been identified. This brings the benefit of better co-ordinated and safe care across health and social care through the use of the unique identifier rather than a reliance on name and date of birth to identify a patient.
These printed forms relate to:

  • Assessments/Re-assessments
  • Support and care planning
 

You have the right to object to the processing of your NHS Number. This will not stop you from receiving care, but may limit how we are able to support you. To help you decide, we will discuss with you how this may affect our ability to provide you with care, and any other options you have.

If you object to the use of your NHS number or If you want to discuss any of the above in more detail please contact your named worker, if you do not currently have a named worker please email information.governance@tameside.gov.uk or contact 0161 342 5225.


 

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