Your social care records and how to access them

We ask you for information about yourself so that we can make sure we offer you the care, protection and support you need.

Why we need to share and keep information about you

We may need to share your information to ensure we have arranged the most appropriate and effective care for you. This could be with a doctor, nurse or your carer. However, we will not pass on any information without your consent, unless we have a duty to do so to protect you, prevent harm to someone else or prevent or detect a crime.

You don't have to consent to sharing your information with others but this may make it difficult to provide the services you need. If you do give us your consent, you may withdraw it at any time. Please tell us if there is anyone you don't want us to share your information with.

If you would like a copy of your care plan, as well as your assessment and other documents we may have about you, we can provide them.

What your records contain

Your records held by social care services contain:

  • your contact details such as your name and address;
  • details about each time you contact us and why;
  • important details about you and your family and any difficulties you may have;
  • names of people who are involved with your care;
  • details about what has been asked and talked about; and
  • what, if any, decisions and agreements have been made

Who can see your records

Your records are seen only by you and the people helping you and those authorised in special circumstances. If you use adult social care services, you have the right to see your personal records. To do so, complete the "access to personal information request form", at the end of the  you and your social care records leaflet (pdf / 581 KB). You can also send us your request in the form of a letter to the team where you have, or where you last had, contact. If this is not possible or you do not know the address, send the form to:

Performance and change
Health and adult services
North Yorkshire County Council
County Hall
Northallerton, DL7 8DD

An appointment will be made for you to view your records and a member of staff will be there to explain things and answer questions. There may be information which is exempt from disclosure and you will be told if there is any in your record. You will not be charged for accessing your records. You can point out anything in your records that you are not happy with, or that is wrong. This may then be changed. You can have a free copy of the changes to any part of your records.

Appealing against a refusal to see your records

If we decide to withhold any personal information from you, you may complain and have the decision reviewed. If you are still not satisfied, you also have further rights of appeal to the Information Commissioner or to the Courts.

Children accessing their social care records

By law, children and adults have the right to access their social care services records. This includes children who have spent time in care or were accommodated.

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 us. This is so we can use the same number to identify you whilst providing your care and work together more closely to improve your care and support.

We will use this number in an integrated care record system across a number of support services, including doctors, hospitals, community matrons, district nurses and social care workers.

You can read the full NHS number privacy notice here:

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 an NHS service called the personal demographic service. Adult social care sends basic information such as your name, address and date of birth to this service in order to find your NHS number. Once retrieved, the NHS number is stored in the council’s adult social care case management system.

These data are retained in the adult social care system in line with the council’s record retention policies. These policies are in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998, Government record retention regulations and best practice. Further information is available here.

In terms of the Data Protection Act the council is both the data controller and the data processor.

Uses of your NHS number

The NHS number then has two uses, the first being a unique identifier to allow social care information to be displayed in the council’s adult social care case management system, for the provision of direct care. We will also use this number in an integrated care record system across a number of support services including doctors, hospitals, community matrons, district nurses and social care practitioners.

We 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. We 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. For example, social workers will only have access to information that is relevant to the execution of their care duties.

Our IT security and confidentiality policies ensure that your information is protected, and available only to staff directly involved in your care. These policies are available for inspection upon request.

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 NHS number to 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; and
  • Less paperwork and more efficient use of social care resources.

Your right to object to the processing of your NHS number

You have the right to object to the processing of your NHS number 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 object to the use of your NHS number for social care purposes, please talk with your social worker or contact us here.

Further details about how we hold information

For more information on how we manage both personal and non-personal information, see the transparency and freedom of information section.

The social care record guarantee

The guarantee is a commitment that records about you will be used in ways that respect your rights and promote your health and wellbeing. Visit the national information governance board for health and social care website for more details.