Privacy Notice

The Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) clearly understands our legal and moral obligations to protect and be transparent about the information we keep about you, and the way in which it is used.

We understand that your personal information is extremely precious and it is important to us that you are able to express your wishes in terms of the way we contact you and that, wherever legally or contractually possible, these wishes are followed.

What information do we collect?
The only personal information that HCSA keeps about you is provided by you or through your interactions with our staff.

This will be collected either at the time of your application for membership, when you sign up for the HCSA Research Panel or if you have subsequent dealings with HCSA staff or representatives, for instance membership queries or in the recording of details around employment cases where you have requested our assistance.

In order to assist in the formulation of policy and to gauge member opinion on important topics, we may store survey responses for a limited period. Generally these will be anonymised unless you have given your express permission or offered your personal information for a clearly stated purpose as part of an individual survey.

Why does HCSA collect this information?
HCSA is governed by trade union law. We have a legal obligation to process and store accurate records of our membership, and ensure that we comply with requirements around balloting and financial probity.

Where we store and process details of your membership, including financial information involving subscriptions, and the records of any employment issue you may have, this reflects a contractual necessity in order to fulfil our commitment to you as a member.

We will act in the legitimate interests of HCSA and its membership by contacting you from time to time to conduct member research or to convey important news about your workplace or which affects you and your grade regionally or nationally.

This represents a necessary aspect of HCSA’s work as a trade union. HCSA will, however, comply where possible with individual member requests not to receive such communications.

HCSA does not pass your information to third parties for marketing purposes. Therefore, where you do receive information about the benefits and services which are available to you as part of your membership, these will originate from HCSA and not a third party.

While HCSA does not rely on your consent in order to distribute this information, we do wish to give members a flexible approach to their membership. Therefore HCSA will always give members an option to unsubscribe from specific types of communications where this does not conflict with our legal or contractual duties.

HCSA Research Panel surveys are distributed to individuals (members and non-members) who have given their express consent. This can be removed at any time by unsubscribing in writing to or via an unsubscribe link in emails.

How does HCSA use personal information?


HCSA collects and maintains personal information so that it can carry out its functions as a trade union, provide membership services and comply with statutory obligations.

HCSA treats all personal information with the utmost confidentiality and with appropriate levels of security.

By joining the union you agree to our processing your personal information, including sensitive personal information such as trade union membership, for the purposes detailed in this statement. We will never disclose such information to a third party without your express permission.

Your personal information will be used for a range of union-based activities related to its running:

  • Maintenance of records
  • Important national and regional information relating to your workplace, grade, or the profession as a whole
  • To seek your views on issues affecting the profession
  • Assisting you with employment disputes
  • Ballots
  • HCSA member services

HCSA Research Panel

Personal information provided by HCSA Research Panel members will only be used for the purpose of distributing research surveys unless the HRP member gives their express consent to do otherwise (opt-in consent which will be clearly highlighted, and which can be withdrawn at any time). This will take place no more than four times a year.

Where is my information kept?

Your information will be stored on physically secure servers protected by encryption and access controls. Most information will be based on servers based in the UK datacentres.

However, HCSA does occasionally use web applications, such as survey services, where some pieces of identifiable information are stored in the United States.

Where this happens, such information will be governed by access controls, and agreements with third party companies which stipulate that privacy rules contained in the EU-US Privacy Shield apply.

Keeping information up to date
HCSA offers all members the ability to update their personal information via an online portal. From time to time we shall write to members to prompt them to check that their details remain current.

How long does HCSA keep my information?
HCSA will only store information as long as it is required, either by contractual necessity, legal obligation or the legitimate interests of the Association.

Information will be retained at least as long as you are a member. Once your membership ceases, information will be retained only for as long as it may be required by HCSA for use in any subsequent legal case, or because HCSA is required to maintain such records by law. Where you cease to become a member, we will no longer process your information for membership communication purposes.

Once your membership has ceased, your information will not be used for any other purpose than to meet our obligations.

This means that some personal information will remain archived for up to seven years following the end of membership. After that period it will be securely destroyed.

For HCSA Research Panel members, where you have unsubscribed, your email address will be stored purely in order to note that you have unsubscribed (we will not use this email address for any other purpose).

Who has access to the information we store about you?
On a day-to-day basis your information will only be accessible by employees, elected officers, or appointed or elected local representatives of HCSA.

Access to sensitive case or financial information is restricted only to those members of HCSA staff who require it.

Our secure systems are also accessed by our contracted business service providers, such as IT support.

All personal information is governed by HCSA’s data security protocols and is maintained within a secure central system. On rare occasions where data exists outside this system, information will be kept secure and, if in a digital format, encrypted.

Your information will not be shared beyond the HCSA apart from where this may be required to fulfil our legal or contractual obligations, for instance sharing employment and other personal information with appointed legal advisers acting on behalf of HCSA in your interests.

Your legal rights
You have a legal right to know what information we hold about you, to ask for incorrect information to be corrected, and in some circumstances to make a request for information to be deleted or for processing to be restricted.

In certain circumstances we may be unable to comply with your request because of over-riding legal or contractual obligations. However, in such cases we will be open and honest about the reasons for this.

If you wish to make a Subject Access Request in order to find out what information we hold on you, please read this first.

All requests for information or to exercise your legal rights should be made by email to or by post to:

Data Protection
1 Kingsclere Road
RG25 3JA

More information about your rights is available from the Information Commissioner’s Office.


Last updated 17.05.2019