At Brook we offer a confidential service. This means that we do not talk about your visit to anyone outside Brook without your permission unless you or another young person are in serious danger. If you have any worries or questions about confidentiality, don't hesitate to ask us.
The information on this page will tell you what that means when you are using Brook's services.
Read general information about your rights when visiting other sexual health services.
Our promise of confidentiality relates to the organisation as a whole. To make sure that we provide you with the best care members of staff have to share information about you with other members of the Brook team.
When Brook works with another health service provider
Brook services often work together with another Health Service provider in a partnership arrangement. Should this be the case in the service you access the information about you will be shared with them, but your rights to confidentiality remain exactly the same.
How will we contact you
We will not send test results or contact you at home unless you have given us your permission. That’s why we always ask if we can write to you at home. It's important that we have some way to contact you so we will always ask if there is another address we can use or some other way to contact you such as email or mobile phone.
We will never leave messages for you with someone else, or on voicemail, unless you have told us that was OK.
Will you contact my doctor?
We won’t tell your family doctor about your visit if you don’t want us to. You might be asked each time you visit us whether it’s OK for us to contact your doctor. If you don’t want your doctor to know you are a client of Brook we would encourage you to contact us if your doctor gives you any medicine just in case it interferes with any contraception we have given you.
Who can see my Brook record?
You can see your records but we won’t show them to anyone else without your permission – even your parents, guardian or carer.
All our staff are specially trained to keep your confidentiality and they have all agreed to stick to our policies.
If you are or others are at risk of serious harm
If we believe that you are at risk of serious harm we may need to talk to other people outside of Brook so that you can get additional support to protect you. We will always discuss this with you first before talking to anyone else.
Violent or criminal behaviour
If a client behaves in a violent, aggressive or anti-social way or commits a crime against another Brook client, a member of staff or against Brook property we may have to call the police and give them the name of the client. We would not give the police any information about the reason for the client’s visit to us.
Required by law
Sometimes we may be required by law to share information about you. This may happen if the police or a court orders us to disclose information.
In some cases people who work for approved organisations who are also legally required to maintain your confidentiality may also have the right to see your records as part of their job. This can happen when an organisation like the Care Quality Commission inspects us to ensure the quality and safety of our services or if an inquiry has been ordered into the serious injury or death of a child or young person.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
In England, if someone aged under 18 tells one of our doctors or nurses that they have experienced Female Genital Mutilation we have to tell the police. We wouldn’t do that without telling you first.
At Brook we want to provide you with the best quality care. To do this we need to keep records about you and the advice and treatment we have given you. The information in your records may include:
We promise that:
We will use your information to:
We may use your information to:
In addition to the staff who work in the clinics, our managers and our small team of data analysts may have access to your data. Everyone who works at Brook has signed an agreement to keep your information confidential.
Paper and electronic records
We store your information in computer systems and in paper records. Paper records are kept in locked cabinets.
For Brook services, electronic records are saved on a secure database that is only available to Brook staff.
When we work in partnership with another Health Service provider your electronic record may be held on a secure database owned by that partner.
How long do you keep the records?
We usually keep your records for ten years after your last visit to the Centre. After that time they are securely destroyed.
Anonymised data may be stored on cloud-based platforms. This means that we remove any information that would allow young people to be identified before we upload the information.
All staff who have access to your records have been trained to work to the same confidentiality policy where your rights to confidentiality are adhered to.
If you live in an area where we provide a webchat service and you contact us using webchat, our service provider collects your IP address. IP addresses can sometimes be used to trace the location of someone’s computer. No one at Brook can see your IP address - unless we ask to because we’re very concerned about you. We won’t share your IP address with anyone else, unless you agree that we can share it, or there is an important reason why we should share it without your consent, such as if you or another young person is in immediate danger or harm.
At the end of a webchat, you can enter your email and have your webchat transcript sent to you. Your email address is not stored.
We ask for some basic information in every conversation (such as your age, gender and the first part of your postcode), but no one can identify you from this information. This helps us see who we’re helping and how we can improve our service. We may share this data outside of Brook, for example, to promote what we do to funders, or for research purposes.
We won’t ask for identifying information (such as your name, date of birth or address) during a conversation except in exceptional circumstances if we think we would need to share it to keep you safe.
If you share identifying information with us and we’re worried about you, we may store this and potentially share this with someone outside Brook if we believe you or another young person is at immediate risk of harm. This information is stored securely and can only ever be seen by Brook staff who have agreed to our confidentiality policy. These documents will be kept for 10 years, or until your 25th birthday, whichever is longest. When we destroy these documents, they are destroyed in a way that means that no one else can read them.
We will only ever share identifying information about you if we think you or another young person is at immediate risk of serious harm. We will talk to you about this first and give you as much control over what happens next as we possibly can. We understand the sort of situations you might be in and we are here to listen to you and support you.
Asking for your data from webchat services
It’s not possible for us to send someone their message history or the demographic data we hold about them, because none of this is linked to identifiable information and so we can’t know for certain that it’s yours. Without this, we risk giving out the wrong information to someone.
You have the right to confidentiality under the Data Protection Act, the Human Rights Act and the common law duty of confidence.
You can see the information we hold about you by making a request to access your data either at one of our reception desks, or by emailing email@example.com. In your email please tell us which Brook centre you attend. We will then give you a form to fill in so that we can provide you with the right data. Sometimes we may have to charge a small fee (not more than £10) to copy your records.
If you think that there are mistakes in your record, you have the right to request that these be corrected or noted.
If you have any questions about the use of your data please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every internet browser keeps a record of where you’ve visited on the internet (known as your browsing history) but if you don’t want someone to know you’ve been using the Brook website or Ask Brook, you can clear this.
How to clear your browser history in Safari:
On a computer:
On an iPhone or iPad:
How to clear your browser history in Google Chrome:
On a computer:
On an Android device:
On an iPhone or iPad:
How to clear browser history in Internet Explorer:
How to clear your browser history in Firefox:
On a computer: