What we do

Public Health Dorset works to improve and protect the health of the whole population in Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset. We do this in a number of different ways. We:

  • Work with other people in the local authorities, the NHS, and other organisations to make changes that will improve and protect the health of the population as a whole, for example to reduce social or environmental risks to health
  • Use a range of information from different places to understand the health issues for the local population as a whole and for different groups within the local population
  • Pay for public health services that are delivered to local people, for example services that help support people to have a healthier lifestyle and drug and alcohol treatment services
  • Provide an integrated health improvement and lifestyle system called LiveWell Dorset to improve the health and well-being of local residents, through supporting people to stop smoking, cutting down alcohol intake, taking part in more exercise, losing weight and/or eating more healthily

What information we use and why

To do our job we need information about people’s health and wellbeing. This comes from lots of different places. Some is data we collect ourselves, some is data collected through the services that we pay for, and some data comes from our partners in other parts of the local authorities, the NHS, and other national bodies.

We use this information for delivering our LiveWell service, measuring health and care needs of the population, for planning, evaluating and monitoring health, and for protecting and improving public health.

An example of how we use data in planning is shown in our annual Director of Public Health reports, where data from various sources is used to help us understand patterns of heart disease, what more we can do locally to stop people developing heart disease, and how we can improve care for those who have it.

In bringing together this information we have one aim – to protect and improve the health of people in Dorset.

The kinds of information we use

Much of the information we use is in aggregate form, in other words, it is made up of statistics that relate to groups of people rather than to individuals. For example, we use aggregate data to produce statistics to help the public sector in Dorset identify local priorities to improve and protect the communities we serve. Using data that is already based on groups means this information is anonymous, which means it does not identify individuals within these groups.

We sometimes get data that is not already grouped, but where all identifying data (including name, NHS number, date of birth, date of death, address, and postcode) has been removed so that we can group the data ourselves. For example, we get age in years instead of date of birth, or a code that covers a larger geographical areas instead of address or postcode. The data may have a ‘pseudonym’ (or coded reference) attached to it that links it to a particular individual without that individual being identified. This would allow us to understand, for example, how many people had one, two, three or more admissions to hospital.

Sometimes we collect personal data; where we do so we will make it clear when we collect this personal information, why we need this and what we intend to do with it. An example of this is our LiveWell service where we collect personal information to be able to provide health improvement services to the service user.  With consent from the service user, this information is collected on registering with the service and if service users want to take part in a service or need other support then LiveWell may need to use and share personal information with other organisations involved in their care.

Personal data can include NHS number, date of birth, date of death, address, or postcode. When we do this it is often because we need to link different sources of information together. For example, we might link data about how many medical problems a person has with hospital admissions and social care data to better understand the impacts this has and enable future planning of services. When we do need to use personal data we try to remove as much of the detail as possible that could identify an individual. For example, we may use the NHS number but replace date of birth with age in years and addresses with codes that cover larger geographical areas.

Lawful basis

Your personal information will be used and processed lawfully. The lawful basis for processing your personal data will take place under the General Data Protection Regulation specific purpose of Legitimate Interests (6.1.c), Public Task (6.1.e) or Vital Interests (6.1.d).

Some of the personal information we process is special category data. Special category data is personal data which the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) says is more sensitive, and so needs more protection. We process this under 9.2.i of the GDPR. Processing of special category data is necessary for reasons of public interest in the area of public health, such as protecting against serious cross-border threats to health or ensuring high standards of quality and safety of health care.

The legislation that allows us to hold and use your information includes the Data Protection Act 2018, Health & Social Care Act 2012, the Care Act 2014, the NHS Act 2006, and the Children Act 2004. We also take into account the Caldicott Principles.

How to protect the information we use

We take our legal and professional obligations to protect the confidentiality of personal information very seriously.

As well as limiting the amount of personal information we hold, we make sure that our staff can only see information that is essential to their job. We take appropriate security measures to prevent the personal data we hold being accidentally or deliberately compromised. These measures are backed up by reliable policies and procedures and well-trained staff. We ensure that we permanently delete any information that we no longer need to hold.

Who we share information with

Much of the information we produce is in the form of anonymous statistics published through our website and in reports and papers to the Joint Public Health Board, the two Health and Wellbeing Boards and other partners.

We never publish information that could be used to directly identify an individual. We only share information about individuals when the direct consent of patients has been obtained or when there is a clear basis in the law for that information to be shared. The Dorset Information Sharing Charter provides us with a robust foundation for the lawful, secure and confidential sharing of personal information with partner organisations that we work with. It enables us to meet our statutory obligations and share information safely to enable integrated service provision across the county and better outcomes for its residents.

Information collected through our website

When someone visits our website they do not need to give us any personal information. We do use a third party service to collect standard internet log information and details of visitor behaviour patterns. We use this to find out things such as the number of visitors to the various parts of the site to help us in developing and improving our site. This information is only processed in a way which does not identify anyone. We do not make, and do not allow this service to make any attempt to find out the identities of those visiting our website.

In some parts of the website we may give you the option to provide views or comments, or to sign up for particular features of the website. Where this happens we may ask for contact details and personal information so that we can act on your comments or requests accordingly. We may contact you if we need to understand more about your comment or request using the contact details you provide.

If we do want to use personal information collected on the website in any other way we will make this clear as we collect it so that you can choose whether to give us this information or not. We may process this information so that it does not identify anyone, and then use it to help us and people we work with to plan how we develop and improve what we all do.

How we use cookies

Cookies are small text files that are placed on your computer by websites that you visit. They are widely used in order to make websites work, or work more efficiently, as well as to provide information to the owners of the site. Any cookies we use do not contain any record of the information you enter, of any other personal information.

A cookie cannot read data off your hard disk, read cookie files created by other websites or damage your system.

Further queries

This privacy notice was written to be clear and concise. It does not provide exhaustive detail of all aspects of Public Health Dorset’s collection and use of information, including personal information. However, we are happy to provide any additional information or explanation needed. Any requests for this should be sent to the address below.

You may also ask to find out if we hold any personal information by making a ‘subject access request’ under the Data Protection Act 1998 using the contact details below. If you agree, we will try to deal with your request informally, for example by providing you with the specific information you need over the telephone.

If you require independent advice please visit the website of the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Changes to this privacy notice

We keep our privacy notice under regular review. This privacy notice was last updated on 10 October 2018.

01305 224400

Pan-Dorset Drug & Alcohol Service Commissioners Privacy Notice

Local councils and drug and alcohol treatment agencies work together in partnership to provide drug and alcohol services across Dorset. If you receive drug and alcohol services in the Dorset area, including Bournemouth and Poole, personal information will be held about you on a Dorset-wide case management system.

The Pan-Dorset Drug & Alcohol Service Commissioners privacy notice is available here.