What is information governance?

Information governance is the set of standards we must follow in handling personal healthcare records. Good information governance means that all personal health information is handled legally, securely, efficiently and effectively in order to deliver the best possible care to people who use our services. It also includes sharing of relevant personal health information with our service users where appropriate.

The Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003 and the Freedom of Information Acts 1997 and 2003 help to protect patients by providing laws to ensure public bodies follow the principles of good information governance.

What does it involve?

  • We must manage our records effectively. This means that information should be accurate, up to date and accessible when it is needed.
  • We must ensure that information is kept securely and is accessed only by those who should be accessing it.
  • We must protect the confidentiality of the information –information provided in confidence should not be used or disclosed in a way that might identify an individual without their consent.
  • Patients have a right to access health information about themselves


In order to provide you with the highest quality of healthcare, we need to keep records about you. These records may include:

  • Personal information such as your name, address, date of birth, next of kin
  • Contact we have had with you, such as clinic visits and hospital admissions
  • Notes and reports about your health and details of any treatment and care you need or have received either from us or from other care providers, such as your GP
  • Results of investigations such as X-rays and tests.

The people who provide healthcare to you will use your records to:

  • Confirm who you are when we contact you, or when you contact us
  • Make decisions about your ongoing care and treatment
  • Make sure your care is safe and effective
  • Check the quality of your care

No. If you wish to receive safe and appropriate care and treatment at our hospital we must maintain an accurate record of relevant information about you. However, if you have any concerns about providing information or how we share this information with other healthcare providers, please discuss this with our staff so that you fully understand the potential impact on your care or treatment.

Yes, we may also share relevant information about you with other organisations, such as:

  • Other hospitals that are involved in your care and treatment
  • Your GP
  • Community services
  • Local authorities

When we do share information with other organisations involved in your care, we do so under a formal agreement about how it will be used and kept confidential. We will not disclose your information to any other third parties without your permission unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as if the health and safety of others is at risk or if the law requires us to pass on information.

Relevant information about you may also be used to help us to:

  • Receive payment and keep track of spending
  • Teach and train our staff (but you can choose whether or not to be involved)
  • Manage and plan our services
  • Help investigate concerns or complaints that you or your family may have about your healthcare.

Wherever possible we use information that would not identify you personally (anonymous information).

Research has a vital role to play in the development of healthcare and health service delivery. The Mater Hospital is a teaching hospital and we support and promote research activity within the hospital. Our Research Ethics Committee must approve research before it takes place. If we wish to use your personal information for research then we will ask you for permission first. You will not be identified in any published results without your agreement.

Yes. You have the right to access any information we hold about you. The Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act allow you to find what information is held about you on computer and in certain paper records.  Find out how to  access your medical records.

If you have questions or complaints about personal medical records please contact:

Routine access administrator
Mater Hospital,
Eccles Street,
Dublin 7
D07 R2WY
Tel: (01) 803 4311
Email: routineaccess@mater.ie

Everyone working in the Mater Hospital has a legal duty to keep information about you confidential. Anyone who receives information from us is also under a legal duty to keep it secure and confidential. You have the right to confidentiality under the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Human Rights Acts, 1988 and 2003.