LEAFLETS explaining how the NHS uses patient information will begin landing on the doormats of Wyre Forest households this month.

During the next month, every home in England will receive a "better information means better care" leaflet, explaining how the health service shares information about the care patients have received.

Health chiefs say sharing information helps ensure the quality and safety of services is consistent across the country and can also highlight different diseases and conditions which may require more NHS investment.

As explained in the leaflet, residents have the right to object to their data being used for purposes other than their direct care and can restrict their data being used by talking to their GP.

Dr Imran Rafi, chairman of the clinical innovation and research centre at the Royal College of General Pracitioners, said: "I fully support this initiative. GPs understand the importance of sharing information appropriately both as part of delivering clinical care and for wider uses, such as research and for planning NHS services.

"It is important patients understand how the NHS uses and shares their information and they feel they have been given a proper chance to participate. The spin-off is the potential for all NHS patients to benefit."

Dr Mark Davies, medical director at the health and social care information centre, added: "The centre was set up as the legal safe haven for protecting and managing patient information. We want everyone to feel confident their information is kept private and used in non-identifiable form to improve the quality of health and social care for everyone."

The NHS has been collecting similar information from hospitals for several decades but until now has been missing information about the quality of care provided across other parts of the NHS and social care services.