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Privacy Statement

Privacy Statement

How we use your information


1.    Who we are

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust is part of the National Health Service (NHS) and provides NHS care and treatment for people living in South East England, and as a Trust we:

  • Receive and respond to 999 calls from members of the public
  • Respond to urgent calls from healthcare professionals e.g. GPs
  • Receive and respond to 111 calls from members of the public


We provide these services across the majority of the South East Coast region of Kent, Medway, Surrey and Sussex.

We have in excess of 3,300 staff working across 110 sites in Kent, Surrey and Sussex. Almost 90 per cent of our workforce is made up of operational staff – those caring for patients either face to face, or over the phone at our emergency dispatch centres where we receive 999 calls.

As part of the NHS we are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The CQC is the independent regulator of health and adult social care in England. It ensures that health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate high quality care and encourages care services to improve.


2. 999 Service

We are committed to providing the right care, first time to all of our patients.

We do this by offering a range of treatment options depending on the severity of each situation. Our call centre staff are trained to assess patients over the phone and send out the most appropriate response which meets the needs of the patient.

When you ring 999 your call goes through to one of our two Emergency Operations Centres (EOCs). Our trained emergency call takers receive nearly 862,000 calls every year.

We use a specialist computer system called NHS Pathways to determine the condition of the patient (this is known as triaging) so we can send the most appropriate response based on their clinical need. This might be an ambulance, or a Clinician.

Some patients who have minor ailments do not require an immediate emergency response or may not need an emergency response at all. We have clinically qualified staff in our EOCs who are able to take more details and provide further advice over the phone.

If necessary they can make referrals to other community healthcare professionals such as GPs or community nurses, or to social care professionals, ensuring every patient always receives the most appropriate treatment for their need.


NHS Pathways

We utilise a 999 Triage System which uses clinical information to ensure patients access the right health service for their needs first time.

NHS Pathways is an advanced clinical triage system that provides us with the enhanced ability to better manage 999 calls, ensuring that patients access the appropriate pathways of care to meet their need first time round.  The pathways could include, but are not limited to: an ambulance response, advice for patients to contact their own GP or the out of hours’ service, visit the local minor injury unit or walk in centre or home care.

This new system will not only result in quality improvements in patient experience and health outcomes, by avoiding unnecessary delays because patients are directed to the right service, first time; the NHS as whole will benefit by a reduction in unnecessary ambulance journeys and in avoidable admissions to hospital via A&E.

NHS Pathways is supported by a robust, accurate and up-to-date directory of services.

Frequently Asked Question sheet along with a leaflet explaining how SECAmb responds to emergency calls under NHS Pathways is available.

For additional information please visit our website:


3.    111 Service

111 is the NHS non-emergency number which allows people to speak to a team of fully trained advisers, supported by experienced nurses and paramedics.

During contact you will be asked a series of questions to assess your symptoms and will be immediately directed to the best medical care for you.

The service is used in instances where urgent medical help or advice is needed but it's not a life-threatening situation such as:

  • You need medical help fast but it's not a 999 emergency
  • You think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service
  • You don't know who to call or you don't have a GP to call
  • You need health information or reassurance about what to do next


Where possible, the 111 team will book you an appointment or transfer you directly to the people you need to speak to.

Calls to 111 are recorded. All calls and the records created are maintained securely.

Information recorded during the call will be shared with other health professionals directly involved in your care. Some of it will also be shared with NHS Digital to improve NHS 111 and 999 services, the information received through their intelligence data tool consists of outcome data which is not identifiable.


4. Confidentiality affects everyone and is everyone’s responsibility.

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) captures, stores and uses large amounts of personal data every day. For example, we collect data about your contact with us, our employees, and the contracts we have with our suppliers. Our staff, and the agencies we work with to provide healthcare, use this data in the course of their work. Please see section 8 for further information.

We have a duty to protect your personal information and confidentiality and we take our responsibilities very seriously. We are committed to taking all reasonable measures to ensure the confidentiality and security of personal data, whether it is in digital form or on paper.

Everyone working for SECAmb must comply with Data Protection legislation and the Common Law Duty of Confidence. Information you provide to us will be used in confidence and only for the purposes explained to you and to which you consented, unless there are other circumstances covered by the law.

SECAmb complies with the NHS Confidentiality Code of Conduct. All our staff are required to protect your information, inform you of how your information will be used, and allow you to decide if and how your information can be shared.

SECAmb has a designated “Caldicott Guardian”, who is responsible for the management of patient information and confidentiality and a designated Senior Information Risk Owner (SIRO) who is responsible for ensuring the robust management of all information assets, any associated risks and incidents that occur.

Both of these roles are undertaken by senior members of the Trust Board.


5. Why do we collect information about you?

The doctors, nurses and team of healthcare professionals caring for you keep records about your health and any treatment and care you receive. These records help to ensure that you receive the most appropriate care. They may be written in paper records or held on computer.

Telephone calls to the 111 Service are recorded for the following purposes:

  • To make sure that staff act in compliance with Trust procedures.
  • To ensure quality control.
  • For training, monitoring and service improvement


These records may include:

  • Basic details about you, such as your name, address, date of birth, next of kin, etc.
  • Contact we have previously had with you.
  • Notes and reports about your health, treatment and care.
  • Relevant information from people who care for you for example, other Health Professionals and relatives.


It is essential that your details are accurate and up to date. Always check that your personal details are correct and please inform us of any changes as soon as possible.


6. How is your personal information used?

Your records are used to direct, manage and deliver the care you receive to ensure that:

  • The doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals involved in your care have accurate and up to date information to assess your health and decide on the most appropriate care for you.
  • Healthcare professionals have the information they need to be able to assess and improve the quality and type of care you receive.
  • Your concerns can be properly investigated if a complaint is raised.
  • Appropriate information is available if you see another healthcare professional, or are referred to a specialist or another service of the NHS or other agency connected with your care.
  • Ambulance attendances and the outcomes of those calls are monitored. If we are concerned that your needs are not being met, we will need to talk to other professionals, such as your GP and community teams, to see how they can help you. 

Our legal basis is Article 6 of the General Data Protection Regulation, (5) Public task: the processing is necessary for you to perform a task in the public interest or for your official functions, and the task or function has a clear basis in law.

7. The NHS Care Record Guarantee

The Care Record Guarantee is our commitment that we will use records about you in ways that respect your rights and promote your health and wellbeing.

Copies of the full document can be obtained from:


8. Who do we share personal information with?

Everyone working within the NHS has a legal duty to keep information about you confidential. Similarly, anyone who receives information from us has a legal duty to keep it confidential.

Unless you tell us not to, we will share information with the following main partner organisations:

  • Other NHS Trusts and hospitals that are involved in your care.
  • NHS commissioners and other NHS regulatory bodies.
  • General Practitioners (GPs).
  • Other Ambulance Services.
  • GP led services – i.e. Out of Hours


You may also be receiving care from other people as well as the NHS, for example Social Care Services. If we have your permission, we may also share information about you, so that you receive the best possible care, with:

  • Social Care Services.
  • Education Services.
  • Local Authorities.
  • Voluntary and private sector providers working with the NHS


Unless the sharing is specifically related to the direct provision of healthcare we will not share your information with anyone without your explicit permission. The only exception to this may be if the health and safety of others is at risk, or if the law requires us to pass on information.


9. Disclosure of information

Patient right to object to processing/opt-out. You have the right to restrict how and with whom we share the personal information in your records that identifies you. There are choices you can make about how your information is used, and you can choose to opt out of your information being shared or used for any purpose beyond providing your care. 

This must be noted explicitly within your records in order that all healthcare professionals and staff treating and involved with you are aware of your decision.

Please note that not choosing to share your information may have an impact on your care and by sharing your information it will improve NHS services and the experience of treatment and care for our patients.

If you do not wish to share your information, then please inform the 111 Service when you contact them. They will then mark your non-disclosure against your current call although any previous calls on record cannot be amended.

You can change your mind at any time about a disclosure decision.


10. How your personal information is used to improve the NHS

When you contact the 111 Service you will be asked during the greeting message you hear as you are connected to the service whether you consent to your information being shared with other NHS organisations.

Unless you tell the call handler otherwise your information may be shared. 

Your information will be used to help us manage the NHS and protect the health of the public by being used to:

  • Review the care we provide to ensure it is of the highest standard and quality.
  • Ensure our services can meet patients’ needs in the future.
  • Investigate patient queries, complaints, incidents and legal claims.
  • Prepare statistics on NHS performance, this does not include patient identifiable data.
  • Audit NHS accounts and services.
  • Undertaking heath research and development (with your consent - you may choose whether or not to be involved).
  • Help to train and educate healthcare professionals.


11. Risk stratification

There are instances where your GP may use your data / information to ensure that they provide the best care for you.  Your consent to share this information would already have been recorded as part of your consultation with the 111 service.

As part of this process, your GP will use your personal and health data to undertake risk stratification, also known as case finding.

Risk stratification involves applying computer based algorithms, or calculations, to identify those patients registered with the GP Surgery who are most at risk from certain medical conditions and who will benefit from clinical care to help prevent or better treat their condition.

To identify those patients individually from the patient community registered with your GP would be a lengthy and time-consuming process, which would by its nature potentially not identify individuals quickly and increase the time to improve care.

Your GP Surgery uses the services of an authorised health partner, NHS Commissioning Support Unit (CSU) to identify those most in need of preventative or improved care. 

Neither the GP Surgery or the CSU will, at any time, have access to your personal or confidential data. The CSU acts on behalf of your GP Surgery to organise this service with appropriate contractual and security measures only. However, your GP practice will still continue to hold your individual patient record.

The CSU will then automatically process your personal and confidential data without any staff being able to view the data. Typically, they will process your data using indicators such as your age, gender, NHS number and codes for your medical health to identify those who will benefit from clinical intervention / involvement. 

The processing of this information takes place automatically and without human or manual handling. Your GP is then able to view the outcome, matching results against patients on their system.

There are strict security controls in place to protect your confidentiality. However, if you wish, you can request that your data is not to be processed for this purpose and the 111 service will mark your record as not to be extracted so that information is not sent to the CSU for risk stratification purposes.

The lawful basis to use this information for risk stratification has been allowed by s251 NHS Act 2006 and is processed by the CSU or other approved providers only.


12. How you can access your records

Data Protection legislation gives you a right to access the information we hold about you on our records. Details of the information you are requesting are needed, this should include full name, the type of information this relates to and the approximate date.

The Trust will provide your information to you within 30 calendar days from receipt of the request. There is no fee payable for this service.

Please email us at

Or write to us at:

South East Coast Ambulance Service
Ambulance Headquarters
Nexus House,
4 Gatwick Road,
RH10 9BG

Alternatively call us between 9.30am and 4pm, Monday to Friday, (not including Bank Holidays) on 0300 1239 242.

If you think any information in your records is inaccurate or incorrect, please let us know.


13. Data Controller and Data Protection Officer

SECAmb is a registered Data Controller with the Information Commissioner’s Office and has a Data Protection Officer, responsible for ensuring your confidential information is kept safe and secure.

Should you have any further queries on the use of your information, please speak to your health professional or alternatively contact our Patient Experience Manager or Data Protection Officer – Caroline Smart, Information Governance Lead.

Should you wish to lodge a complaint about the use of your information, please contact our Patient Experience Team at:

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust
Ambulance Headquarters
Nexus House
Gatwick Road
RH10 9BG

If you are still unhappy with the outcome of your enquiry you can write to: 

The Information Commissioner
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

Telephone: 01625 545700.


Website privacy statement

South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) is committed to protecting your privacy, in accordance with Data Protection legislation and will not use any information we may hold about you for any purpose other than that for which it was collected.

Our Trust Privacy Notice is available on our website at:


An additional Privacy Notice relating to our Foundation Trust Membership Scheme can be found at: 


Patient information leaflets

While the information contained in our patient information leaflets has been written and checked by our clinical teams, they are intended to complement the advice of professional healthcare staff only. They should not be used without appropriate medical advice.

Procedures should only be undertaken by healthcare professionals and SECAmb will not be liable for injury, loss or financial impairment as a result of actions taken by individuals after reading the materials.

If you have any questions, please contact your GP or consultant. Both NHS 111 and also NHS Choices provide a wealth of health information.

NHS 111


NHS Choices



All material on this website, including text, graphics and photographs, is copyright of SECAmb unless otherwise stated.

Text and graphics may be freely reproduced for the purpose of personal, educational or private research use. However, all text and graphics, including photographs and the SECAmb logo, contained in the website are not authorised for any purposes unless permission is first obtained from SECAmb


GDPR Trust Privacy Statement
May 2018 v0.1 Final

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