Freedom of Information

Data Protection Policy


Eyegen Opticians constantly need to record and use various types of information about the Patients who come into contact with us in order to carry out our work. This personal information must be collected and dealt with appropriately – whether on paper, on a computer, or recorded on another medium - and there are safeguards to ensure this under the Data Protection Act 1998.

The following is a list of definitions of the technical terms used - and is intended to aid understanding of this policy.

Data Protection Act 1998 – The UK legislation that provides a framework for responsible behaviour by those using personal information.

Data Protection Officer – The person(s) responsible for ensuring that it follows its data protection policy and complies with the Data Protection Act 1998 is Mr Nisar Bhatti BSc (Hons) MCOptom.

Patient – The individual whose personal information is being held or processed by Eyegen Opticians.

‘Explicit’ consent – is a freely given, specific and informed agreement by a Patient to the processing* of personal information* about her/him. Explicit consent is needed for processing sensitive* data.
*See definitions below

Notification – Notifying the Information Commissioner about the data processing activities of Eyegen Opticians as certain activities may be exempt from notification.

Information Commissioner – The UK Information Commissioner responsible for implementing and overseeing the Data Protection Act 1998.

Processing – means collecting, amending, handling, storing or disclosing personal information.

Personal Information – Information about living individuals that enables them to be identified – e.g. name and address. It does not apply to information about companies and agencies but applies to named persons or patients/clients of Eyegen Opticians.

  • Sensitive data – means data about:
  • Racial or ethnic origin
  • Political opinions
  • Religious or similar beliefs
  • Trade union membership
  • Physical or mental health
  • Sexual life
  • Criminal record
  • Criminal proceedings relating to a patients offences

Data Controller

Eyegen Opticians is the Data Controller under the Act, which means that it determines what purposes personal information held will be used for. It is also responsible for notifying the Information Commissioner of the data it holds or is likely to hold, and the general purposes that this data will be used for.


Eyegen Opticians may share data with other agencies such as the Local Authority or Primary Care Trust as well as other health professionals such as the Patient’s General Practitioner, District Nurses and Carers. In such cases, the Patient will be informed how, why and to whom such information will be disclosed. The Patient will be made aware in most circumstances how and with whom their information will be shared. There are circumstances where the law allows an organisation to disclose data (including sensitive data) without the Patient’s consent. These are:

  1. Carrying out a legal duty or as authorised by the Secretary of State
  2. Protecting vital interests of a Patient or other person
  3. The Patient has already made the information public
  4. Conducting any legal proceedings, obtaining legal advice or defending any legal rights
  5. Monitoring for equal opportunities purposes – i.e. race, disability or religion
  6. Providing a confidential service where the Patient’s consent cannot be obtained or where it is reasonable to proceed without consent: e.g. where we would wish to avoid forcing stressed or ill Patient’s to provide consent signatures.

Eyegen Opticians regards the lawful and correct treatment of personal information as very important to successful working, and to maintaining the confidence of those with whom we deal. Eyegen Opticians intends to ensure that personal information is treated lawfully and correctly.

To this end Eyegen Opticians will adhere to the Principles of Data Protection, as detailed in the Data Protection Act 1998.

Specifically, the Principles require that personal information:

  1. shall be processed fairly and lawfully and, in particular, shall not be processed unless specific conditions are met,
  2. shall be obtained only for one or more of the purposes specified in the Act, and shall not be processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes,
  3. shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to those purpose(s)
  4. shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date,
  5. shall not be kept for longer than is necessary,
  6. shall be processed in accordance with the rights of Patients under the Act,
  7. shall be kept secure by the Data Controller who takes appropriate technical and other measures to prevent unauthorised or unlawful processing or accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal information,
  8. shall not be transferred to a country or territory outside the European Economic Area unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of Patients in relation to the processing of personal information.

Eyegen Opticians will, through appropriate management, strict application of criteria and controls:

  • observe fully conditions regarding the fair collection and use of information
  • meet its legal obligations to specify the purposes for which information is used
  • collect and process appropriate information, and only to the extent that it is needed to fulfil its operational needs or to comply with any legal requirements
  • ensure the quality of information used
  • ensure that the rights of people about whom information is held, can be fully exercised under the Act. (These include:
    • the right to be informed that processing is being undertaken,
    • the right of access to one’s personal information
    • the right to prevent processing in certain circumstances and
    • the right to correct, rectify, block or erase information which is regarded as wrong information),
  • take appropriate technical and organisational security measures to safeguard personal information
  • ensure that personal information is not transferred abroad without suitable safeguards
  • set out clear procedures for responding to requests for information.

Data collection

Informed consent

Informed consent is when

  • a patient clearly understands why their information is needed, who it will be shared with, the possible consequences of them agreeing or refusing the proposed use of the data
  • and then gives their consent.

When collecting and recording information, Eyegen Opticians will ensure that the patient

  • clearly understands why the information is needed
  • understands what it will be used for and what the consequences are should the patient decide not to give consent to processing
  • as far as reasonably possible, grants explicit consent, either written or verbal for data to be processed
  • is, as far as reasonably practicable, competent enough to give consent and has given so freely without any duress
  • has received sufficient information on why their data is needed and how it will be used

Data Storage

Information and records relating to patients will be stored securely and will only be accessible to authorised staff.

Information will be stored for only as long as it is needed or required statute and will be disposed of appropriately.*
*see record retention

Data access and accuracy

All Patients have the right to access the information Eyegen Opticians holds about them. Eyegen Opticians will also take reasonable steps to ensure that this information is kept up to date by asking Patients whether there have been any changes.

In addition, Eyegen Opticians will ensure that:

  1. it has a Data Protection Manager with specific responsibility for ensuring compliance with Data Protection,
  2. everyone processing personal information understands that they are contractually responsible for following good data protection practice,
  3. everyone processing personal information is appropriately trained to do so,
  4. everyone processing personal information is appropriately supervised,
  5. anybody wanting to make enquiries about handling personal information knows what to do,
  6. it deals promptly and courteously with any enquiries about handling personal information,
  7. it describes clearly how it handles personal information,
  8. it will regularly review and audit the ways it holds, manages and uses personal information,
  9. it regularly assesses and evaluates its methods and performance in relation to handling personal information,
  10. all staff are aware that a breach of the rules and procedures identified in this policy may lead to disciplinary action being taken against them.

This policy will be updated as necessary to reflect best practice in data management, security and control and to ensure compliance with any changes or amendments made to the Data Protection Act 1998.

In case of any queries or questions in relation to this policy please contact the Data Protection Manager at the practice - Mr Nisar Bhatti BSc (Hons) MCOptom on 020 7625 8925.

Record Retention

  • All records are retained for 15 years from the date of last seeing the patient
  • Records of children are retained until they are 25 AND it is 15 years since they were last seen
  • Records of the deceased are kept for 10 years
  • Records are destroyed by shredding


Age at last test Time to retain record
Age 5 Until age 25
Age 10 Until age 35
Age 13 Until age 28
Age 18 Until age 33
Over 18 For 15 years