Privacy Policy

This privacy statement is applicable to all services managed by the UK Teratology Information Service and explains:

  • What we do with personal information we collect about you
  • How we store this information
  • Who we may share it with
  • For which legal purpose we may share it

Under data protection law we are legally required to explain how we use your information in a way that is:

  • Concise and easy to understand
  • Transparent
  • Easily accessible – written in clear, plain language
  • Free of charge

Data protection law says the personal information we hold about you must be:

  • used lawfully, fairly and in a transparent way
  • collected only for valid purposes that we have clearly explained to you and not used in any way that is incompatible with those purposes
  • relevant to the purposes we have told you about and limited only to those purposes
  • accurate and kept up to date
  • kept securely and only as long as necessary for the purposes we have told you about

1. About the UK Teratology Information Service

The UK Teratology Information Service is a Department of Health approved and UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) commissioned, national UK service. UKTIS provide free, up-to-date evidence-based advice to NHS healthcare professionals and pregnant women regarding medications, chemicals, illicit drugs and other toxic exposures that may pose a risk in pregnancy.   UKTIS attempts to follow up all enquiries made to the service to collect maternal and fetal outcome data following reported exposures.  This information contributes to future patient risk assessments and supports surveillance to determine the safety of medications and chemicals in pregnancy. 

UKTIS is hosted by Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and staff are compliant with the relevant local polices regarding data protection.

The information collected as part of UKTIS routine national surveillance is recognised by the Caldicott Advisory Panel of UKHSA to be vital for the identification of novel human teratogens, in recognising trends and risks associated with teratogenic exposures, protecting public health from the impact of human teratogens, and monitoring adverse reactions to vaccine and medication exposures which arise during or around pregnancy. Accordingly, UKTIS data collection and processing is covered by section 251 of the National Health Service Act 2006 and Regulation 3 of The Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 (UKHSA Approval Reference Number: 13091).

The NHS Act 2006 and Regulation 3 enable the common law duty of confidentiality to be temporarily lifted so that confidential patient information can be transferred to an applicant without the discloser being in breach of the common law duty of confidentiality. In practice, this means that the person responsible for confidential information (health professionals contacting UKTIS) can disclose patient identifiable information to UKTIS without being in breach of the common law duty of confidentiality. Under these regulations, UKTIS are obligated to remain compliant with all relevant legal data protection and information governance obligations.

2. About the personal information we use

We collect personal information about different groups of individuals including:

  • Healthcare professionals
  • Patients
  • Staff
  • Complainants
  • Enquirers
  • Survey respondents
  • Professionals, experts, and consultants

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

We also collect 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 patient records and responses to surveys.

3. Our purposes for using personal information

UKTIS are tasked to provide a teratology information service in the UK. Services provided by UKTIS include:

  • a national telephone enquiry line available to healthcare professionals in the UK.
  • a range of online resources:
    • Systematic evidence reviews available to healthcare professionals only via uktis.org and toxbase.org (and TOXBASE app)
    • Summary documents freely available via uktis.org
    • ‘BUMPS’ patient information leaflets, for which a separate privacy policy is available at www.medicinesinpregnancy.org
  • 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.

4. Our legal basis for using personal information

The UKTIS considers that the legal basis for using personal information is as follows:

  • Consent is given by the individual visiting uktis.org to process their personal data for purposes of providing access to secure areas of the website, to conduct surveys to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of our services, and to maintain email distribution lists.
  • 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. 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
    •  for reasons of public interest in the area of public health
    •  for reasons of substantial public interest for aims that are proportionate and respect people’s rights, for example research
    • in order to protect the vital interests of an individual
    • 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 may receive it from other individuals and organisations involved in the delivery of health and care services in the UK. These include other NHS organisations and primary care contractors such as GPs, dentists, pharmacists, and 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. Sharing personal information abroad

No personal information is transferred abroad

8. Retention periods of the information we hold

We review access to our websites and details of individuals held on our email distribution lists every 12 months deleting those who are no longer stakeholders or have not accessed the website in the last 24 months.

The Records Management Code of Practice 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 revised on 5th December 2023.

9. How we protect personal information

We take care to ensure your personal information is only accessible to authorised people. Our staff, the external website developers, and those of the external companies used to host the websites and database management system, have a legal and contractual duty to keep all personal 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 control and audits of electronic systems

10. Privacy on the web

The UKTIS offer a number of online services.

Specific personal data, e.g. your name, email addresses, or preferences that you provide while on our website will be used to allow us to provide you with access to the sites (where registration is required) and to manage your accounts.

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 website, to help us improve our sites.

Contact forms and e-mail links allow you to communicate with UKTIS. We do not sell advertising space on our website. Links within our site 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 website 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 website. This allows us to monitor traffic, analyse trends and identify any problems.

Cookies

Our website 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

The information you provide will be managed as required by Data Protection law (Act 2018).

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.

Please contact use if you have any questions about our privacy policy or information we hold about you:

by email: nuth.contactUKTIS@nhs.net. Please note email from your private address may not be secure.

or write to: UK Teratology Information Service, Regional Drug and Therapeutics Centre, 16/17 Framlington Place, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4AB

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 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 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 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 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:

In writing: UK Teratology Information Service, Regional Drug and Therapeutics Centre, 16/17 Framlington Place, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4AB

by email: nuth.contactUKTIS@nhs.net. 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 Trusts Corporate Risk Assurance Data Protection Officer, Jules Scott (nuth.dpo@nhs.net). 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: www.ico.org.uk.

Privacy statement issued on 3rd November 2022