Restrictions on Access

Use of confidential records for academic research

LHSA has a unique collection of personal health records representing a variety of specialties which are highly valuable for academic research purposes.

Both the Data Protection Act 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation (2016) make provision for research access to confidential records containing sensitive personal data, as long as that data is used subject to appropriate safeguards (robust anonymisation, for example).

It is possible for a researcher to apply for access to closed LHSA records. An application to the NHS Lothian Caldicott Guardian will be made on the researcher's behalf by LHSA staff along with a letter from the researcher explaining the purposes of their research. The Caldicott Guardian will make a decision granting or denying access.

If access is granted the researcher must sign an undertaking that they will not disclose to any parties any personal information taken from these records, or publish any personal identifiers.