GDPR and Research

The regulatory body for conducting research in the NHS is the Health Research Authority (HRA). As a research active Trust it’s important to us that you understand how we will be using your personal data, and what your rights are under the law.  The HRA explain this fully here .

As an NHS organisation we use personally-identifiable information to conduct research to improve health, care and services. As a publicly-funded organisation, we have to ensure that it is in the public interest when we use personally-identifiable information from people who have agreed to take part in research.  This means that when you agree to take part in a research study, we will use your data in the ways needed to conduct and analyse the research study. Your rights to access, change or move your information are limited, as we need to manage your information in specific ways in order for the research to be reliable and accurate. If you withdraw from the study, we will keep the information about you that we have already obtained. To safeguard your rights, we will use the minimum personally-identifiable information possible.

Health and care research should serve the public interest, which means that we have to demonstrate that our research serves the interests of society as a whole. We do this by following the UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research.

If you wish to raise a complaint on how we have handled your personal data, you can contact our Data Protection Officer who will investigate the matter. If you are not satisfied with our response or believe we are processing your personal data in a way that is not lawful you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

You can contact our Data Protection Officer at dpo@mft.nhs.uk.

  • In studies where participants are providing personal data directly, for example personal data is obtained for the primary purpose of research either verbally or in writing from participants (eg. questionnaires or interviews), or documented by care staff (eg. diagnosis, or obtained from care interventions such as laboratory results) detailed information will be provided when you are approached to take part in the research within the study’s Participant Information Sheet.
  • In some research studies when you agree to take part you also agree for the data to be used in future research studies. When this is the case, the information about your health and care may be provided to researchers running other research studies in this organisation and in other organisations. These organisations may be universities, NHS organisations or companies involved in health and care research in this country or abroad. Your information will only be used by organisations and researchers to conduct research in accordance with the UK Policy Framework for Health and Social Care Research.

Depending on the design of the study either:

This information will not identify you and will not be combined with other information in a way that could identify you. The information will only be used for the purpose of health and care research, and cannot be used to contact you or to affect your care. It will not be used to make decisions about future services available to you, such as insurance.

Or:

Your information could be used for research in any aspect of health or care, and could be combined with information about you from other sources held by researchers, the NHS or government. 

Where this information could identify you, the information will be held securely with strict arrangements about who can access the information. The information will only be used for the purpose of health and care research, or to contact you about future opportunities to participate in research. It will not be used to make decisions about future services available to you, such as insurance.

Where there is a risk that you can be identified your data will only be used in research that has been independently reviewed by an ethics committee.