Data is retained in the adult social care system in line with the NHS record retention policies. These policies are in accordance with Data Protection Laws and Government record retention regulations and best practice. Further information on Record Management practice can be found here.
Focus is both the Data Controller and the Data Processor. Focus will share information only to provide health and social care professionals directly involved in your care access to the most up-to-date information about you. It will do this by sharing appropriate information between health and social care services at the time of patient contact. Access to information is strictly controlled, based on the role of the professional through NHS smartcards. For example, social workers will only have access to information that is relevant to the execution of their care duties and within the integrated shared record you have agreed to be shared in and out at each health or care organisation.
Focus’ IT, information security and confidentiality policies ensure that your information is protected, and available only to staff directly involved in your care. focus does not store information locally for your full adult social care record, data is recorded on the NHS spine record and the Data Protection Officer (DPO) submits a Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT) to NHS Digital on an annual basis to evidence compliance.
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. 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 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.
The addition of the shared record and social care data will bring additional benefits:
- Better coordinated 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 coordinating 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.
You have the right to object to the sharing of your data in this way. This will not stop you from receiving care, but will result in the benefits outlined above not being realised. 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 wish to opt-out from sharing your social care data, please talk with your social worker or Single Point of Access (SPA) by contacting us on 01472 256 256 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of Focus’ transparency, please see the latest policies below for our Information Governance Management Framework (IGMF) Strategy: