When you use our services we collect, store and sometimes share information about you. On this page you can find out: 

  • What information we collect about you
  • How we keep your information safe, secure, confidential and up to date
  • Who we might share your information with, and why
  • How you can request to see your own records

If you've been referred to our services we'll keep both paper and electronic records about you and your care. This can include:

  • Your name, address, NHS number, date of birth
  • Your medical history
  • Your assessment, care plan and reviews
  • Details that can affect your care plan (such as benefits, social work and housing details)
  • Records of contact you've had with the service.

We'll keep your records for a specified period. For mental health records this is 20 years after the date of last activity or eight years after the death of the patient. For people who have learning disabilities we keep records for life and until 10 years after death.

We also record any risks to your health or the health of other people. For example, if you have:

  • An allergy to penicillin
  • A hearing impairment
  • Been physically or verbally aggressive towards other people
  • Neglected your health or are the victim of neglect

We'll always tell you when we've recorded a risk unless we think telling you could lead to you or others being harmed. This is to make sure that you and others are kept safe. We'll regularly review risks to ensure that they're still applicable and if we need to keep them.

Why we need this information 

We need to keep records to make sure you get the right care and treatment and we hold this information after your treatment has finished. This is because we may need it if we see you in the future. Sometimes we use parts of the information we collect for:

  • Planning and improving services
  • Research (approved by the local research ethics committee)
  • Staff training
  • Helping other parts of the NHS to check we are doing what we say we'll do
  • Financial audit
  • Improvements to patient safety

If we do use your information, it is anonymised so your personal details and anything which could identify you is removed.

Changes to your personal information 

It's important that your records are up-to-date. Please tell your clinician if any of your personal details change.

Who else we may share this information with 

We routinely share information within your care team. This can include your GP and other organisations who provide your care, such as local councils, other NHS trusts and charities.

We'll record who we work with to provide your care on a consent form. You can withdraw your consent for us to share your information with them at any point.

We can keep your relatives, friends and carers informed about your treatment, but only if you want us to; they have no automatic right to see your records.

We may also share your information to comply with a legal obligation, such as sharing information with the police or courts for the prevention or detection of a crime or fraud. We only share information for specific purposes and will justify why. If we share information for any other reason we will always ask you first.

Our staff receive training annually about the Data Protection Act and their legal responsibilities to keep your information safe.

Anyone who receives information from us is also under a legal duty to keep it confidential. We take great steps to ensure information about you stays secure. These steps include:

  • Locking away paper records
  • Using computer passwords
  • Making sure people are who they say they are if they ask for information
  • Only sharing information that is relevant to the purposes of providing your care
  • Shredding old records that have reached their retention dates
  • Auditing our data protection and information security processes

Confidentiality and how to apply to see your health record

Under the Data Protection Act you have the right to access information held about you. You can ask to formally see your records at any time or you can give written consent for a representative to see your record, for example a relative, solicitor or advocate.

If you want to see your records, you can make a request in writing to:

Health Records
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Arundel Road
West Sussex
BN13 3EP


After you contact us we'll send you an application form, and more information, including your legal rights. There is no charge for this service and we'll respond in full within a month.

If you'd like to know more please speak to the staff involved in your care or contact:

The Data Protection Officer
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Arundel Road
West Sussex
BN13 3EP

Telephone: 0300 304 0100

You have the right to receive copies of letters about your health care written by health professionals at Sussex Partnership.

We'll talk to you about copying letters to you at your appointment. You'll be asked to sign a form to show your choices and we'll keep a copy of the form in your health record. Let us know if you change your mind, at any time. Letters you can be copied into include:

  • Letters between members of the team looking after you
  • GP, other doctors, therapists or other health care professionals
  • Letters to other agencies such as social services, housing or benefits agencies, employers or insurance companies
  • Copies of care plans, assessments or referral forms.

You can choose if you want to have copies of this information and how you want to receive it.

If English is not your first language, we can provide these letters translated into the language that is easier for you. If you are partially sighted or blind, they can also be made available in large print or audio versions.

Sometimes we will not be able to supply copies of letters and other documents. This may be because your clinician feels it may cause you harm or the letter includes information about somebody else who has not given consent for the details to be shared.

The Freedom of Information Act gives you the right to request information from public services, including the NHS. The aim of the Act is to promote trust and confidence in our public services by providing clear information and being open about what we do. It doesn’t apply to personal data, which is covered by the Data Protection Act.

We've made sure that most of our corporate and business information is available through our publication scheme. This is the information we publish routinely.

Find out more about Freedom of Information.

Information Governance and Health Records

Information Governance and Health Records
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Arundel Road
West Sussex
BN13 3EP

Telephone: 0300 304 2025
Email: or

Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)

You can also contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), who has responsibility for ensuring that organisations comply with the Data Protection Act:

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane


Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

If you have any compliments, concerns or feedback about the care you've received contact:

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)
Sussex Partnership NHS Trust
Arundel Road
West Sussex
BN13 3EP

Telephone: 0300 304 2198