How information about you is collected

This page tells you how information about your health is used and kept safe. It includes information on

Collecting health information from the general population

Information is recorded by health care professionals about various aspects of our health. 

The information is recorded in our medical records (paper files or computer records) at the GP surgery or at a local hospital, for example.

Your records contain information about your health, such as blood test results or whether you have been diagnosed with a certain medical condition. They may also contain some personal information, such as your postcode or job.

Who can see your health records

Medical records are confidential and are kept safely. They can only be seen by certain people who need to see them.

Occasionally a researcher gets special permission to look at this information to try and find out more about certain medical conditions.

Being able to look at health records has been very important over the years in helping researchers find out a lot about medical conditions and their causes and treatments.

The National Institute for Health Research has written a leaflet with information about this.

Download 'Your health records save lives'

Collecting information when you take part in a clinical trial

When you join a clinical trial, the research team needs to know certain things about your medical history. This includes

  • Blood test results
  • Scan results
  • Details of the stage of your cancer
  • Information about any treatment you have had

It is important that the researchers know this information. It helps them make sure you are eligible to take part in the trial. And it means they can analyse the results more thoroughly.

As with all medical records, this information is confidential. But there are a few people who will need to know you are taking part in a trial.

Who is told that you are in a trial

Your GP is told by the trial team about the treatments you are having and possible side effects. This is so that they can continue to treat you safely.

People who care for you at the hospital or clinic will also know. Information about the trial is recorded in your hospital notes.

It is up to you whether you tell anyone else that you are taking part in a trial.

Protecting your identity

When you take part in a trial, you have a code number that will be on all the paperwork that relates to you, instead of your name. Your name won't appear in any reports of the results, and no one will be able to identify you from this information.

Related information

What clinical trials are

Find a clinical trial

Last reviewed

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Find a trial

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