Patient rights and responsibilities charter: easy read version

Easy read version of the revised charter of patient rights and responsibilities.

Part 3: Privacy and confidentiality

There are 4 parts to 'The Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities'. This document is Part 3. There is a further information section at the end of each part. This has contact details and important information.


A charter is a document that says what an organisation will do. It is an agreement between the organisation and the people who use its services.

In Scotland the law says there must be a charter for people who use the NHS in Scotland.

The law gives everyone the right to receive healthcare that:

  • meets their needs
  • does what is best for their health and wellbeing
  • gives them information and support to take part in decisions about their care.

It gives people the right to give feedback and comments or make complaints.

It says what I should expect when I use NHS services. It says what I can do if I think my rights have not been met.

The Charter says what I need to do when using the NHS. We want the NHS to use its resources in the fairest way.

Everyone who uses and provides NHS services has a right to be treated as an individual with dignity and respect.

The Charter is for everyone who uses NHS services in Scotland. NHS services are the services provided by health boards and include hospitals and services such as GPs, dentists, opticians, and pharmacists.

Some NHS services are now integrated. This means that decisions are made jointly by the Local Authority, the NHS and people from the community. Service users should be involved in developing health services. See further information.

My health, my rights, my NHS

Part 3: Privacy and confidentiality

I have the right to privacy and for my personal health information to be protected when using NHS services.


My family life and private life should be respected. My private correspondence such as letters should be respected.

I have the right to privacy regarding my sexual health, sexuality, body, personal identity, and relationships with other people.

The NHS may need to balance my rights with the rights of other people.

My privacy should be respected. I can expect to be examined by NHS staff in a private room. I can say I do not want students there.


I have the right to tell NHS staff if I do not want my information shared with certain people.

NHS Scotland may have to use or share my information without my permission. This may be because of the law or if I cannot give permission. The law says it has to be recorded if this decision is made.

I am responsible for the privacy of the personal health information I hold, like letters.

My right to be informed

I have the right to be told how my personal information is kept and used. I can ask a person involved in my care, or my health board, about how my information is used.

The right to access my information

I have the right to see my personal information held by the NHS in Scotland.

I have the right to see the personal information of an adult I care for.

The right to correct, delete, or stop the use of my information

I have the right for wrong information to be corrected. I have the right for missing information to be added.

I should let the NHS know if my details change, such as if I change my address.

I have the right to ask for my personal information to be deleted when it is no longer needed. I have the right to limit how my information is used. The NHS does not have to do this if it has a good reason.

If I ask for my information to be corrected or deleted I should receive a response in 1 month. There are times this can be refused.

I have the right to stop my information being used for adverts. The NHS can use my information if it is in my best interest.

The right to move or transfer my information

I have the right to ask for my personal information I have given to the NHS. I can use this information for my own purposes.

I have a right to ask for an electronic copy of any electronic information that I have provided to the NHS.

I also have the right to ask for this information to be sent to another organisation. The NHS will do that if it is possible.

Using technology to make decisions about me

I have the right to be told if NHS Scotland is using computers to make decisions that do not involve people. This may involve things like my mobile phone, my computer or other medical devices.

I have the right to ask for decisions about me to be made by people instead of computers alone.

I have the right to complain to the NHS or the Information Commissioner's Office if computers alone are making important decisions about me. This would be if I do not know it is happening, or systems are not working how they should. See further information.


I can decide to use telecare to monitor or improve my health. I have the right to be told how my information is being used.

Feedback and complaints about data protection

I can give feedback or complain about the protection of my information. I can find the contact details for my health board or GP's data-protection officer from NHS inform. See further information.

Further information

NHS Inform

For information about NHS services in Scotland I can contact NHS inform. I can call the NHS inform helpline free on 1660 22 44 88 or go to their website at:


The Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS)

Provides support in giving feedback, comments, concerns or complaints about the NHS to help improve services. I can access the service by calling free on 1680 917 2127 or at my local citizens advice bureau or at


I can find out more about health and social care integration on the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Integration website ( and the Health and Social Care Scotland website (

Health & social care standards

The Health and Social Care Standards say what people's health, social care and support should be like. I can get Easy Read information about the Standards from the Scottish Government website:

Data protection

I can find more information about data protection and my rights from the Information Commission Officer's website ( or I can contact their office by:
Phone: 0131 244 9001

Post: 45 Melville Street,
Edinburgh EH3 7HL




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