Privacy policy

The Lifeline service is commissioned by the Public Health Agency and delivered by Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, on behalf of wider Health and Social Care.

In order for Belfast Health and Social Care Trust to help provide a service for you, we need to know some information about you. Personal information that we process about you is governed by the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK-GDPR).

What information is collected?

The information we collect includes, but is not limited to, your name, address, date of birth, contact details, relevant health and social care history, and information pertaining to your reason for accessing the Lifeline service. We may need to collect information about you from other people, for example, your family, carers, other health professionals, or if necessary, other external agencies. 

How is it collected?

Information you provide to us is recorded on our data management systems. This can include information you provide by telephone, in person, or information Lifeline has received about your health and social care history to date, for example from other healthcare professionals such as GPs or key workers.

What do we do with your information?

We collect this information to assist in providing healthcare services for you. Other reasons your information may be used include: 

  • Helping to review the care given to you to ensure it is of the highest standard. This is done through internal audits of our standards or external inspections of the services (e.g., RQIA).
  • Training and educating staff.
  • Looking after the health and social welfare of the general public.
  • Investigating complaints, criminal activity or legal claims.
  • Preparing statistics on the Trust’s activity and performance. 

Who will my information be shared with?

To help us provide the best care or service for you, we will seek consent to share your information with authorised individuals directly involved in your care. We will discuss this with you so you will be aware of who we are speaking to and the reasons for this. 

Your relatives, friends and carers may be given information about you, but only if you agree, or in circumstances where it is necessary to ensure your safety, health and wellbeing. 

To protect your safety, health and wellbeing and that of others, there may also be occasions where we must involve other services in your care, such as social services, the Police Service of Northern Ireland or the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, but we will keep you informed throughout. 

Where appropriate there may be a requirement for a vetted third party vendor to access our system to maintain its security and integrity. Every effort will be made to ensure personal identifiable information is not accessed.

Apart from this, we will not share your information with other individuals unless you have given us permission to do so. If we do want to share your information, we will keep you informed throughout and you have the right to withdraw your consent at any time, where relevant. 

Your information may also be used in a way that does not identify you, for example, for research or to help identify trends (such as the increase in certain mental health conditions). 

Will it be shared with anyone else without my consent?

There may be occasions where your information can be shared with other organisations without your consent, but this will only happen when it is:

  • required by law 
  • required by a court order 
  • necessary to detect or prevent crime, including allegations or suspicions of fraud 
  • necessary to protect the public from serious harm (e.g., for the protection of vulnerable adults)
  • required for reporting and monitoring of high-level, non-identifiable information (e.g., on request from the Public Health Agency (PHA))

How will it affect me if I do not want to provide information?

It is important to remember that the purpose of using your information is to provide you with safe, immediate and effective care. We are unable to provide a full service to those who do not wish to comply with our use of their personal data. 

Security of your information

At Belfast Health and Social Care Trust we take your privacy seriously. Staff will only access your information on a strict ‘need to know’ basis or when they are involved in your period of care. All staff have a legal duty to keep your information safe and confidential, as does anyone who receives information about you from the Trust. 

In line with legislation, the Trust has a range of measures and strict standards to protect paper and electronically held information. We will not transfer your data to other countries outside the UK unless you have consented to it and the information has been secured in a way that safeguards it during and after transfer to the country receiving it. 

How long will my information be retained for?

We will retain your information in line with specific guidance issued by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland. For adults, we will retain records relating to your use of our service for 20 years after the end of your contact with Lifeline or 8 years after death. 

For children, records will be retained for 20 years from the last contact or until their 25/26 birthday, whichever is the longer period, or 8 years from death. 

Keeping your information up-to-date

It is very important that the information we hold about you is correct and up-to-date. You can help us to do that by telling us of any changes. Please tell us if you move house, change your GP, change your name or telephone number. 

How do I see my information?

If you want to see the information we hold about you or ask about how we use it, you can speak to the person in charge of your care or you can request, in writing or verbally, a copy of your information. 

You have a right under the legislation to obtain a copy of your information. There generally is no fee for this service but we will need a form of photographic identification. Where the request is straightforward, there is a timeframe of a calendar month to process and provide you with a copy of the information. If the request is extensive, involves other services and requires redaction it may take up to 90 days to provide this, but we will advise you of the timeframe. 

Your rights

You have a right to take action if you feel you have suffered damage and distress due to the Trust’s use of your information. You also have a right to take action to correct, block, remove or destroy inaccurate information that the Trust holds on you. If you have any concerns, contact the address below. 

Is there any information that I cannot see?

There are occasions when other people have provided information relating to your care. We have a duty to keep certain information confidential and may not be able to share it with you. You are only entitled to see information about you. There are some other instances when information cannot be legally shared or released, for example where investigations are being conducted by the Police. 

How can I find out more information or who can I complain to?

To request a copy of Lifeline records relating to you, or if you are unhappy with any aspect about how we use your information or how we comply with your request, you can contact: 

Data Protection Office Belfast Health and Social Care Trust 
1st Floor Administration Building 
Knockbracken Healthcare Park 
Saintfield Road 

Email: [email protected] 
Telephone: 028 9504 6955