Privacy Notice – Mortality Records

Privacy Notice

Mortality Records / Primary Care Mortality Database

This notice provides details of how Devon County Council collects and uses information about deaths.

What is this information?

Personal information about deaths in the county of Devon is supplied to local authorities by NHS Digital and contains data provided at the time of registration of death along with additional GP details, geographic information and coroner details where applicable.  Devon County Council has a Data Access Agreement with NHS Digital and data are supplied in accordance with section 42(4) of the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 as amended by section 287 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, and Regulation 3 of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002.  Information held includes date of birth, date of death, place of death, address of deceased, causes of death, age, sex, GP and practice, occupation and place of birth and more information on this dataset can be found here.

Who is collecting and using your personal data?

Devon County Council will act as a “data controller” for any personal data that you provide to us.  As such, we will ensure that the data give us is processed in line with our organisation’s Data Protection Policies and in line with your rights under the Data Protection Act 2017 and the EU General Data Protection Regulations.

Should you wish to find out more about Devon County Council’s Data Protection Policies please contact our Data Protection Officer.

Please note that failure to provide your personal data may affect the ability of the Council to offer support services to you and your child.

Why are we collecting your personal data?

Devon County Council has a statutory duty under the Health Protection Regulations 2010 to monitor public health needs and to reduce the transmission of infectious diseases.  To carry out this function it may be necessary for the Council to process personal data contained within the Primary Care Mortality Database.

This information is used to ensure that health, social care and public health services address local health needs and are focused on reducing health inequalities (differences in levels of ill health and premature deaths between groups and areas). We also use information from this dataset for work on suicide and accident prevention to identify local suicide hotspots and risk factors locally.

What do we do with this information?

This information is used for the purposes of statistical analysis, the monitoring of population health and demographic change in the county, and to inform the planning and commissioning (buying) of health services.

This information is used specifically to identify patterns and trends in death rates, life expectancy and premature death, highlighting differences between geographic areas, age, sex and other characteristics. It is also used to identify differences between areas and inform the planning and targeting of health, care and public health services. This information is used in the Annual Public Health Report, Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (which in turn informs the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy and local commissioning plans), and health needs assessments. Other uses include the monthly monitoring of trends in death rates, the investigation of variations in mortality rates between GP practices, suicide audit and suicide prevention work, public place of death analyses and accident prevention work, monitoring of deaths from specific causes, the monitoring of seasonal patterns of death and excess winter deaths, the monitoring of child deaths, health and wellbeing and public health outcomes reports, community profiles, and population projections.

The term person identifiable data relates to any data that could potentially identify a specific individual. The following fields in the Primary Care Mortality Dataset are classified as person identifiable: address, postcode of usual residence of the deceased / postcode of place of death, NHS number, date of birth, date of death, maiden name, name of certifier, name of coroner, and cause of death.  These identifiable data are processed by Devon County Council for specific purposes including the suicide audit (which gathers information on suicide to  identify local hotspots and risk factors in order to inform work on the  prevention of suicide and directing at-risk individuals into preventative and treatment services), the investigation of deaths in public places for accident prevention, and the seasonal monitoring of death rates.  For other purposes, a pseudonymised version of the dataset is used. Pseudonymisation is a process through which identifiable fields within a data record are replaced by artificial identifiers, or pseudonyms which means that individuals are no longer identifiable.

No personal-identifiable information is published, and numbers and rates in published reports based on counts fewer than five are removed to further protect confidentiality and anonymity.

Who we will share your personal data with

Devon County Council will not share personal data contained within the Primary Care Mortality Database outside of the Council without a lawful reason for doing so.  The laws governing our access to this information are outlined on the NHS Digital website.

In the case of suicides and deaths with an open verdict, an audit process will be undertaken to gather further details from other public organisations. Under these arrangements we will contact acute hospitals, mental health services, GP practices, local coroner’s offices and local emergency services to gather further information about the circumstances of death and contact with services to inform suicide prevention work locally. Whilst the dataset will not be shared with these organisations, we plan to share the NHS number of people with a cause of death of suicide or open verdict with relevant hospital trusts, mental health services, GP practices, local coroner’s offices and local emergency services so they can gather and return relevant information from their systems to gather the information required for the audit. The audit process will be supported by data sharing agreements and defined processes around information governance and security.

How long will we hold your personal data?

Devon County Council will retain your personal data for only as long as is necessary, and in line with our organisation’s record retention schedules.

How do we keep this information secure?

Information is held in a secure database which is only accessible to analytical staff within the Devon Public Health Intelligence Team. The database is on a secure internal network protected by AES 256 encryption and can only be accessed within this network.

Data will be held be for deaths registered from 1993 onwards consistent with the data access agreement between NHS Digital, the Office for National Statistics and Devon County Council.

Exercising your rights

Under the Data Protection Act 2017 and the EU General Data Protection Regulations you have the following rights;

  • The right of access to your own personal data
  • The right to request rectification or deletion of your personal data
  • The right to object to the processing of your personal data
  • The right to request a copy of the information you provide us in machine readable format
  • The right to withdraw your consent to any processing that is solely reliant upon your consent

Should you wish to exercise any of your rights, you should contact the Data Protection Officer.

Your right to complain

In the event that you wish to complain about the way that your personal data has been handled by Devon County Council, you should write to the Data Protection Officer and clearly outline your case.  Your complaint will then be investigated in accordance with the Council’s Customer Feedback Procedure.  If you remain dissatisfied with the way your personal data has been handled, you may refer the matter to the Information Commissioner’s Office whose contact details are below.

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane