Data Protection Policy

Physiofit Shetland Ltd Data Protection Policy June 2017

Policy prepared November 2017 by Linda Smith and Anne Williamson

Review Date 01/11/2018


Physiofit Shetland Ltd needs to gather and use information about individuals. This includes personal sensitive health information, database of customers, business contacts, employees and other people that Physiofit Shetland Ltd may need to contact.

This policy describes how this personal data must be collected, handled and stored to meet Physiofit Shetland Ltd data protection standards and to comply with the law. This policy ensures that Physiofit Shetland Ltd:

  • Complies with the data protection law 1998, and follows good practice
  • Protects the rights of patients, staff and partner organisations
  • Is open about how it stores and processes individuals' data
  • Protects itself from the risk of a data breach

Data protection law

The Data Protection Act 1998 describes how organisations must collect, handle and store personal information.

These rules apply regardless of whether data is stored electronically, on paper or on other materials.

To comply with the law, personal information must be collected and used fairly, stored safely and not disclosed unlawfully.

The Data Protection Act is underpinned by eight important principles. These say that personal data must:

  1. Be processed fairly and lawfully
  2. Be obtained only for specific, lawful purposes
  3. Be adequate, relevant and not excessive
  4. Be accurate and kept up to date
  5. Not be held for any longer than necessary
  6. Processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects
  7. Be protected in appropriate ways
    1. Not be transferred outside the European Economic Area (EEA), unless that country or territory also ensures an adequate level of protection

Policy scope

This policy applies to:

  • All staff, associates and volunteers of Physiofit Shetland Ltd
    • It applies to all data that the company holds relating to identifiable individuals

Data protection risks

This policy helps to protect Physiofit Shetland Ltd from data security risks, including:

  • Breaches of confidentiality. For instance, confidential information being given out inappropriately.
  • Failing to offer choice.For instance, all individuals should be free to choose how Physiofit Shetland Ltd uses data relating to them.
    • Reputational damage. For instance, the company could suffer if hackers successfully gained access to sensitive data.


Everyone who works for or with Physiofit Shetland Ltd has some responsibility for ensuring data is collected, stored and handled appropriately and must ensure that data is handled and processed in line with this policy and data protection principles.

Physiofit Shetland Ltd meets its legal obligations and is responsible for:

  • Keeping staff updated about data protection responsibilities, risks and issues.
  • Reviewing all data protection procedures and related policies.
  • Arranging data protection training and advice for the people covered by this policy.
  • Handling data protection questions from staff and anyone else covered by this policy.
  • Dealing with requests from individuals to see the data that Physiofit Shetland Ltd holds about them (also called ‘subject access requests’).
  • Checking and approving any contracts or agreements with third parties that may handle the company’s sensitive data.
  • Ensuring all systems, services and equipment used for storing data meet acceptable security standards.
  • Performing regular checks and scans to ensure security hardware and software is functioning properly.
  • Evaluating any third-party services the company is considering using to store or process data. For instance, cloud computing services.
  • Approving any data protection statements attached to communications such as emails and letters.
  • Addressing any data protection queries from journalists or media outlets like newspapers.
  • Where necessary, working with other staff to ensure marketing initiatives abide by data protection principles.

General staff guidelines

  • The only people able to access data covered by this policy should be those who need it for their work.
  • Data should not be shared informally. When access to confidential information is required, employees can request it from the directors.
  • Physiofit Shetland Ltd will ensure that all employees have had  training to help them understand their responsibilities when handling data.
  • Employees should keep all data secure, by taking sensible precautions and following the guidelines below.
  • In particular, strong passwords must be used and they should never be shared outwith Physiofit Shetland Ltd.
  • Personal data should not be disclosed to unauthorised people, either within the company or externally.
  • Data should be regularly reviewed and updated if it is found to be out of date. If no longer required, it should be brought to the attention of the principle physiotherapist who will arrange for the data to be deleted and disposed of.
  • Protocols for locking up premises and filing cabinets should be followed stringently.
  • Employees should request help from the data protection officer if they are unsure about any aspect of data protection.

Data storage

These rules describe how and where data should be safely stored. Questions about storing data safely can be directed to the data controller.

When data is stored on paper, it should be kept in a secure place where unauthorised people cannot see it.

These guidelines also apply to data that is usually stored electronically but has been printed out for some reason:

  • When not required, health records should be filed in alphabetical order in a locked filing cabinet.
  • Health records of adult patients will be kept for 6 years after the time of the last consultation. Child health records will be kept until the child's 25th birthday (or 26th birthday if aged 17 at the time of treatment). Maternity records will be kept for 25 years.
  • When disposal of data is required this will be by incineration or shredding.
  • Patient notes should not be taken out of Physiofit Shetland Ltd premises except for when needed for home visits, in which case they should be kept in a locked car and returned to Physiofit Shetland Ltd on the same day.
  • Employees should make sure paper and printouts are not left where unauthorised people could see them, like on a printer.
  • Data printouts should be sent for secure disposal when no longer required.
  • When data is stored electronically, it must be protected from unauthorised access, accidental deletion and malicious hacking attempts:
  • Data should be protected by strong passwords.
  • If data is stored on removable media (like a CD, DVD or iPad), these should be encrypted and password protected.
  • Data should only be stored on designated drives and servers, and should only be uploaded to an approved cloud computing services.
  • Servers containing personal data should be encrypted and password protected.
  • Data should be backed up frequently, in line with the Physiofit Shetland Ltd standard backup procedures.
  • All servers and computers containing data should be protected by approved security software and a firewall.
  • When working with personal data, employees should ensure the screens of their computers are always locked when left unattended.
  • Personal data should not be shared informally. In particular, it should never be sent by unencrypted email, as this form of communication is not secure.
  • Data with sensitive information must be encrypted before being transferred electronically .
  • Personal data should never be transferred outside of the European Economic Area.
  • Employees should not save copies of personal data to their own computers. Always access and update the central Physiofit Shetland Ltd copy of any data.

Data accuracy

The law requires Physiofit Shetland Ltd to take reasonable steps to ensure data is kept accurate and up to date.

It is the responsibility of all employees who work with data to take reasonable steps to ensure it is kept as accurate and up to date as possible.

  • Data will be held in as few places as necessary. Staff should not create any unnecessary additional data sets.
  • Staff should take every opportunity to ensure data is updated. For instance, by confirming a patient's details when they call.
  • Physiofit Shetland will make it as easy as possible for data subjects to update the information held about them.
  • Data should be updated as inaccuracies are discovered. For instance, if patient can no longer be reached on their stored telephone number, it should be removed from the database.

Subject access requests

All individuals who are the subject of personal data held by Physiofit Shetland Ltd are entitled to:

  • Ask what information Physiofit Shetland Ltd holds about them and why.
  • Ask how to gain access to it.
  • Be informed how to keep it up to date.
  • Be informed how the company is meeting its data protection obligations.

If an individual contacts the company requesting this information, this is called a subject access request.

Subject access requests from individuals should be made in writing addressed to PhysioFit Shetland Ltd, 8 Hillside Brae, Gulberwick, Shetland, ZE2 9FD

Individuals will be charged a fee with the cost of retrieving and copying the data, up to a maximum of £50 for paper data and £10 for electronic data. The data controller will aim to provide the relevant data within 30 days.

The data controller will always verify the identity of anyone making a subject access request before handing over any information.

Disclosing data for other reasons

In certain circumstances, the Data Protection Act allows personal data to be disclosed to law enforcement agencies without the consent of the data subject.

Under these circumstances Physiofit Shetland Ltd will disclose requested data. However, the data controller will ensure the request is legitimate, seeking assistance from the board and from legal advisers where necessary.

Providing information

Physiofit Shetland Ltd aims to ensure that individuals are aware that their data is being processed, and that they understand:

  • How the data is being used
  • How to exercise their rights

To these ends, Physiofit Shetland Ltd has a privacy statement, setting out how data relating to individuals is used by the company.