Privacy statement by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport
Our ministry’s motto is: ‘A Healthy Netherlands’. We care for the old and the young, and for people with a physical or mental disability. Taking care of people includes taking care with their personal data. People share their data with us directly or via health and welfare professionals. They do this voluntarily, because they are required to by law, or because (in the case of scientific studies or maintaining registers) it is in the interests of national – or even international – public health.
Our vision on privacy
All people – including employees – have a right to respect for their privacy. In order to achieve our societal and organisational objectives, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport has to be able to collect and share data. Protecting personal data and processing data in accordance with the law are key elements of this process. Our ministry attaches great importance to respect for privacy. We process personal data in a lawful, fair and transparent manner, in full accordance with the law.
This privacy statement explains how the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport deals with personal data.
Below we aim to answer the following questions.
- What is personal data?
- Why does the Ministry process your personal data?
- How do we deal with your personal data?
- When do we share your data?
- How is your data used in scientific research?
- How can you contact us about your rights?
This general privacy statement applies to all personal data the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport needs to use in the course of performing its tasks. For specific information about the processing of your personal data you should contact the Ministry department or unit you are dealing with.
Privacy legislation is always evolving, so this privacy statement is updated regularly.
Learn more about your privacy when using this website.
What is personal data?
Personal data is information that directly concerns a specific individual or can be traced back to him or her. Examples of personal data include postal addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses.
Sensitive personal data
Some personal data is particularly sensitive, because its collection and use can have a big impact on someone’s life. Data concerning someone’s race, religion or health is considered sensitive personal data. This kind of data enjoys special protection under the law. Likewise, children’s personal data and criminal record or judicial data are always considered sensitive, and are therefore always subject to extra protection.
For more information about personal data please visit the website of the Data Protection Authority.
Why does the Ministry process your personal data?
Many parts of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport record, consult, maintain and provide personal data. We do this, for example, when conducting public health and other studies, handling requests under the Government Information (Public Access) Act, dealing with objections, assessing grant applications, inspecting healthcare services and conducting public vaccination programmes.
The Ministry also maintains various registers. The Dutch Healthcare Professionals (BIG) Register, for example, contains the names, addresses, qualifications and work experience of healthcare professionals. The Donor Register contains details of which organs an individual wants to donate after their death, or details of the person authorised to decide on behalf of the deceased.
This privacy statement applies only to the ‘core’ Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. Its various services, institutions, inspectorates and secretariats of boards and committees explain on their own websites how they deal with personal data in the course of their activities, why they process data and how they ensure it is handled appropriately. For an organisational overview of the Ministry as a whole, see our organogram (in Dutch). There are also a number of non-departmental agencies (ZBOs) (in Dutch) that work in concert with the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. You can learn more about how they safeguard your privacy by visiting their websites.
How do we deal with your personal data?
The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport applies a number of principles when processing personal data and takes measures to ensure it handles data in a reliable, fair and careful manner.
Data protection officer
Our ministry has a data protection officer. This person is an independent appointee who monitors whether the Ministry applies and complies with the rules laid down in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The Dutch Data Protection Authority is responsible for supervising the application of privacy legislation.
Purpose and legal basis
The Ministry processes personal data only if it has a legal basis for doing so, or if consent has been granted. We ensure that personal data is processed only for the specific purpose for which it was collected. If consent has to be granted, it can also be withdrawn at any time.
The least amount of data possible
The Ministry never processes more personal data than is necessary. If possible it processes less data or none at all.
Minimising the infringement of privacy
The Ministry ensures that any infringement of privacy is not disproportionate to the purpose for which the data was collected. If we have a choice of different types of personal data we could process for a given purpose, we always opt for the data that constitutes the least infringement of privacy.
The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport keeps your personal data:
- only for as long as is necessary to achieve the purpose for which it was collected;
- only for the length of time required by the Public Records Act; and
- for no longer than is permitted under the law.
Reliability, integrity and confidentiality
The Ministry employs a range of measures to ensure that your personal data is dealt with in a reliable, fair and careful manner.
- All personal data is treated in confidence. This means your data can be processed only by persons with both the proper authority and a duty of confidentiality.
- Personal data is protected effectively. At a minimum we observe the rules and standards on information security laid down by central government.
- The Ministry makes agreements about security measures with external parties such as software providers and data centres. And we monitor whether external parties comply with these agreements.
When do we share your personal data?
In certain cases the Ministry is authorised, and sometimes even required, to provide data and information to or request them from other organisations (public or otherwise).
For example: the Dutch Healthcare Professionals (BIG) Register, which is maintained by the Central Information Unit on Healthcare Professions (CIBG), provides information on a healthcare provider's competences, but says nothing about their areas of specialisation. The Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) maintains a register of healthcare professionals’ areas of specialisation, such as cardiology. The registers of both organisations exchange data back and forth. Similarly, the Dutch Healthcare Professionals (BIG) Register and the Healthcare Disciplinary Boards (in Dutch) also exchange information. If a disciplinary measure is imposed on a doctor, for example, the disciplinary board will inform the CIBG, which will register the information in the BIG Register. This information is subsequently fed into the KNMG's register.
How is your data used in scientific research?
The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport also conducts scientific research, and uses personal, company and institutional data for this purpose. As soon as possible after receiving such data, we render it free of all personal characteristics that directly identify an individual. After the data has been anonymised or, if this is not possible, pseudonymised, the Ministry can use it to conduct statistical research.
Should it be necessary to process non-anonymised personal data, we ask the consent of the person concerned. In all cases we minimise the amount of potentially traceable data we process. We also make sure that the results of our research are not traceable to individual persons.
When it comes to your personal data, you have several rights (in Dutch), such as the rights to access and rectify your data. If you wish to know what personal data of yours we have processed you can submit a request to this end. The Ministry of Health Welfare and Sport will respond to your request within one month.
Proof of identity
If you wish to exercise one or more of your privacy rights, don't forget you will need to provide proof of identity. Valid forms of ID include your passport or driver's licence. You can use the smartphone app KopieID to make a secure copy of your identity document. This app was developed by the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations. Learn how to download it (in Dutch).
If you wish to access sensitive personal data, including criminal record and judicial data and data relating to minors, you will be required to produce proof of identity when you collect the information concerned. This helps us ensure that we are giving the information to the right person.
You can submit requests to us in two ways:
Send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
By post (don't forget to sign the letter)
Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport
Information Policy Department / Chief Information Officer
2500 EJ Den Haag
If it should turn out that your personal data is incorrect, incomplete or irrelevant, you can submit an additional request for your details to be amended or supplemented.
Data Protection Officer
If you have a specific question or wish to lodge a complaint, you can contact the Ministry's data protection officer. You can do this in two ways:
Send an email to: FG-VWS@minvws.nl.
Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport
Administrative and Political Affairs Department
2500 EJ Den Haag
You can also obtain information about your rights or lodge a complaint by contacting the Data Protection Authority.