Data Protection Notice

Data Protection Notice

1. About the National Poisons Information Service (NPIS) and UK Teratology Information Service (UKTIS)

The NPIS and UKTIS are Department of Health approved and Public Health England (PHE) commissioned, national UK services. The NPIS provides expert advice on all aspects of acute and chronic poisoning. The UKTIS provides expert advice on fetal risk following pharmacological and other potentially toxic exposures in pregnant women.

The Services comprise four individual units, based in Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Newcastle. In addition two NHS Trusts provide on-call medical consultant support to the NPIS. All NPIS and UKTIS staff are based within NHS Board/Trusts and are compliant with the relevant local policies regarding data protection. NPIS and UKTIS staff information is held in line with the local policies of the NHS Board/Trust that employs them. The Data Protection Notices of all NHS Board/Trusts that contribute to the provision of the NPIS and UKTIS can be reached via these links:

NPIS Birmingham
Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust

NPIS Cardiff
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

NPIS Edinburgh
NHS Lothian

NPIS Newcastle and UKTIS
Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

On-call medical consultant support provided by:
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

2. About the personal information we use

We use personal information on different groups of individuals including:

  • healthcare professionals
  • patients
  • staff
  • contractors
  • suppliers
  • complainants, enquirers
  • survey respondents
  • professional experts and consultants

The personal information we use includes information that identifies you like your name, address, date of birth and postcode.

We also use more sensitive types of personal information, including information about racial or ethnic origin, genetic or health data.
The information we use can relate to personal and family details; education, training and employment details; lifestyle and social circumstances; goods and services; visual images; details held in the patient record; responses to surveys.

3. Our purposes for using personal information

The NPIS and UKTIS are tasked to provide comprehensive and integrated poisons and teratology information services in the UK.
Services provided by the NPIS and UKTIS include: national telephone enquiry lines available to healthcare professionals in the UK and the Republic of Ireland as well as members of the public from the Republic of Ireland, and a range of online resources:

  • TOXBASE online available to healthcare professionals only
  • TOXBASE app
  • UKTIS*
  • TOXlearning e-learning resource
  • individual unit web sites

We use personal information to enable us to provide healthcare services; audit; surveillance; research; supporting and managing our employees; and maintaining our accounts and records.
* excluding ‘BUMPS’ for which a separate privacy policy is available at

4. Our legal basis for using personal information

The NPIS and UKTIS consider that performance of our tasks and functions are in the public interest. So when using personal information our legal basis is usually that its use is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest, or in the exercise of official authority vested in us. In some situations we may rely on a different legal basis; for example, when we are using personal information to pay a supplier, our legal basis is that its use is necessary for the purposes of our legitimate interests as a buyer of goods and services.

When we are using more sensitive types of personal information, including health information, our legal basis is usually that the use is necessary:

  • for the provision of health or social care or treatment or the management of health or social care systems and services; or
  • for reasons of public interest in the area of public health; or
  • for reasons of substantial public interest for aims that are proportionate and respect people's rights, for example research; or
  • in order to protect the vital interests of an individual; or
  • for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims or in the case of a court order

5. Who provides the personal information

When you do not provide information directly to us, we receive it from other individuals and organisations involved in the delivery of health and care services in the UK and Republic of Ireland. These include other NHS organisations and primary care contractors such as GPs, dentists, pharmacists and opticians; other public bodies, e.g. Local Authorities and suppliers of goods and services.

6. Sharing personal information with others

Depending on the situation, where necessary we will share appropriate, relevant and proportionate personal information in compliance with the law, with the following:

  • healthcare professionals
  • patients and their chosen representatives or carers
  • staff
  • healthcare social and welfare organisations
  • suppliers
  • service providers
  • legal representatives
  • auditors and audit bodies
  • research organisations
  • people making an enquiry or complaint

7. Transferring personal information abroad

No personal information is transferred abroad.

8. Retention periods of the information we hold

NPIS Birmingham, NPIS Cardiff, NPIS Newcastle (including UKTIS)
The Records Management Code of Practice for Health and Social Care 2016 sets out what people working with or in NHS organisations in England, and in the Cardiff and Vale Local Health Board, need to do to manage records correctly. It's based on current legal requirements and professional best practice and was published on 20 July 2016 by the Information Governance Alliance (IGA).

NPIS Edinburgh

Within NHS Lothian we keep personal information as set out in the Scottish Government Records Management: NHS Code of Practice (Scotland) Version 2.1 January 2012. The NHS Code of Practice sets out minimum retention periods for information, including personal information, held in different types of records including personal health records and administrative records. As directed by the Scottish Government in the Records Management Code of Practice, we maintain a retention schedule as part of our Records Management Policy detailing the minimum retention period for the information and procedures for the safe disposal of personal information.

9. How we protect personal information

We take care to ensure your personal information is only accessible to authorised people. Our staff has a legal and contractual duty to keep personal health information secure, and confidential.

The following security measures are in place to protect personal information:

  • all staff undertake mandatory training in Data Protection and IT Security
  • compliance with NHS Information Security Policies
  • organisational policy and procedures on the safe handling of personal information
  • access controls and audits of electronic systems

10. Privacy on the web

The NPIS and UKTIS offer a number of online services.
Specific personal data, e.g. your name, email addresses, or preferences that you provide while on our web sites or apps will be used to allow us to provide you with access to the web sites/apps (where registration is required) and to manage your accounts.

You may also be asked to opt in to receive news of research, interesting cases or other clinical toxicology/poisoning related items. Opting in is optional.

We may also use this data to contact you to ask for follow up information regarding cases you may have managed. Any responses you make to such a request for information will be included in audit to improve the advice that we provide.

Non-specific data, e.g. data entered into forms, mouse actions, pages visited, etc. will be included in our continuous analysis of visits made to our web sites/apps, to help us improve our sites.

Contact forms and e-mail links allow you to communicate with the NPIS and UKTIS. We do not sell advertising space on our web sites or apps. Links within our sites/apps to other web sites are not covered by this policy.

By providing us with your information you consent to us processing it for the purposes outlined above.
We will not provide your personal data (unless ordered to do so by a competent legal authority) that you provide while on our web sites or apps to third parties, nor will we use it for any purposes except those stated above, unless we have first sought and received your permission.

Log files

We use web server log files to generate statistics on the use of our web sites. This allows us to monitor traffic, analyse trends and identify any problems.


Our web sites place small files, cookies, on your hard drive; these files help us analyse web traffic and improve our web sites. You may choose to decline cookies, however this may prevent you from taking full advantage of our websites.

11. Your rights

This section contains a description of your data protection rights:

The right to be informed

The NPIS and UKTIS must explain how we use your personal information. We use a number of ways to communicate how personal information is used, including:

  • this Data Protection Notice
  • discussions with our service users

The right of access

You have the right to access your own personal information. This right includes making you aware of what information we hold along with the opportunity to satisfy you that we are using your information fairly and legally. You have the right to obtain:

  • confirmation that your personal information is being held or used by us
  • access to your personal information
  • additional information about how we use your personal information

Although we must provide this information free of charge, if your request is considered unfounded or excessive, or if you request the same information more than once, we may charge a reasonable fee.
If you would like to access your personal information, you can do this by submitting a written request via:

National Poisons Information Service (NPIS Edinburgh)
Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
51 Little France Crescent
EH16 4SA

Telephone: 0131 242 1381 or 0131 242 1383 Email:
Please note that the email from your private address may not be secure.
Once we have received your request and you have provided us with enough information for us to locate your personal information, we will respond to your request without delay, within one month (30 days). However If your request is complex we may take longer, by up to two months, to respond. If this is the case we will tell you and explain the reason for the delay.

The right to rectification
If the personal information we hold about you is inaccurate or incomplete you have the right to have this corrected.
If it is agreed that your personal information is inaccurate or incomplete we will aim to amend your records accordingly, normally within one month, or within two months where the request is complex. However, we will contact you as quickly as possible to explain this further if the need to extend our timescales applies to your request. Unless there is a risk to patient safety, we can restrict access to your records to ensure that the inaccurate or incomplete information is not used until amended.
If for any reason we have shared your information with anyone else, perhaps during a referral to another service for example, we will notify them of the changes required so that we can ensure their records are accurate.
If on consideration of your request the NPIS or UKTIS does not consider the personal information to be inaccurate then we may add a comment to your record stating your concerns about the information. If this is the case we will contact you within one month to explain our reasons for this.
If you are unhappy about how the NPIS or UKTIS has responded to your request for rectification we will provide you with information on how you can complain to the Information Commissioner's Office, or how to take legal action.

The right to object
When the NPIS or UKTIS is processing your personal information for the purpose of the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority you have the right to object to the processing and also seek that further processing of your personal information is restricted. Provided the NPIS or UKTIS can demonstrate compelling legitimate grounds for processing your personal information, for instance; patient safety or for evidence to support legal claims, your right will not be upheld.

Other rights
There are other rights under current Data Protection Law, however these rights only apply in certain circumstances. If you wish further information on these rights contact:

National Poisons Information Service
Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
51 Little France Crescent
EH16 4SA
Telephone: 0131 242 1381 or 0131 242 1383 Email:
Please note email from your private address may not be secure.

The right to complain
Data Protection Officers are employed within NHS organisations to check that personal information is handled in a way that meets data protection law. If you are unhappy with the way in which we use your personal information, in the first instance, please inform the Data Protection Officer at NHS Lothian.

Data Protection Officer
NHS Lothian
Waverley Gate
2-4 Waterloo Place
Telephone: 0131 465 5444
Please note email from your private address may not be secure.

You also have the right to complain about how we use your personal information to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). Details about this are on their website in the UK:; in Republic of Ireland

12. Translation Service/ Accessibility

If you require a translation service please find details to enquire below:

Interpretation and Translation Service
NHS Lothian Staff Bank
Comely Bank Centre
13 Crewe Road South

Telephone: 0131 536 2020 option 5 option 5
Please note email from your private address may not be secure.

Last reviewed 24-05-2018