The practice complies with Data Protection and Access to Medical Records legislation. Identifiable information about you will be shared with others in the following circumstances:
- To provide further medical treatment for you e.g. from district nurses and hospital services.
- To help you get other services e.g. from the social work department. This requires your consent.
- When we have a duty to others e.g. in child protection cases Anonymised patient information will also be used at local and national level to help the Health Board and Government plan services e.g. for diabetic care.
If you do not wish anonymous information about you to be used in such a way, please let us know.
Reception and administration staff require access to your medical records in order to do their jobs. These members of staff are bound by the same rules of confidentiality as the medical staff.
NOTICE FOR PATIENTS
We ask you for information so that you can receive proper care and treatment.
We keep this information, together with details of your care, because it may be needed if we see you again.
We may use some of this information for other reasons: for example, to help us protect the health of the public generally and to see that the NHS runs efficiently, plans for the future, trains its staff, pays its bills and can account for its actions. Information may also be needed to help educate tomorrow's clinical staff and to carry out medical and other health research for the benefit of everyone.
Sometimes the law requires us to pass on information: for example, to notify a birth.
The NHS Central Register for England & Wales contains basic personal details of all patients registered with a general practitioner. The Register does not contain clinical information.
You have a right of access to your health records
EVERYONE WORKING FOR THE NHS HAS A LEGAL DUTY TO KEEP INFORMATION ABOUT YOU CONFIDENTIAL.
You may be receiving care from other people as well as the NHS. So that we can all work together for your benefit we may need to share some information about you. We only ever use or pass on information about you if people have a genuine need for it in your and everyone's interests. Whenever we can we shall remove details which identify you. The sharing of some types of very sensitive personal information is strictly controlled by law. Anyone who receives information from us is also under a legal duty to keep it confidential.
THE MAIN REASONS FOR WHICH YOUR INFORMATION MAY BE NEEDED ARE:
- giving you health care and treatment
- looking after the health of the general public
- managing and planning the NHS. For example:
- making sure that our services can meet patient needs in the future
- paying your doctor, nurse, dentist, or other staff, and the hospital which treats you for the care they provide
- auditing accounts
- preparing statistics on NHS performance and activity (where steps will be taken to ensure you cannot be identified)
- investigating complaints or legal claims
- helping staff to review the care they provide to make sure it is of the highest standard
- training and educating staff (but you can choose whether or not to be involved personally)
- research approved by the Local Research Ethics Committee. (If anything to do with the research would involve you personally, you will be contacted to see if you are willing )
If you agree, your relatives, friends and carers will be kept up to date with the progress of your treatment.
If at anytime you would like to know more about how we use your information you can speak to the person in charge of your care or to ......
2. Local NHS bodies were asked to adapt this notice to suit local circumstances. The following sample leaflet is based upon a leaflet produced by the Fisher Medical Centre, Skipton, which the Committee considered to be an excellent example of a local initiative.
PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY OF YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS
Your medical record is a life-long history of your consultations, illnesses, investigations, prescriptions and other treatments. The doctor-patient relationship sits at the heart of good general practice and is based on mutual trust and confidence. The story of that relationship over the years is your medical record.
Your GP is responsible for the accuracy and safe-keeping of your medical records. You can help us to keep it accurate by informing us of any change in your name, address, marital status and by ensuring that we have full details of your important medical history.
If you move to another area or change GP, we will send your medical records to the local Health Authority to be passed on to your new practice. However, we will keep a copy of all entries into your records whilst you were registered with us.
YOUR RIGHT TO PRIVACY
You have a right to keep your personal health information confidential between you and your doctor. This applies to everyone over the age of 16 years and in certain cases to those under sixteen. The law does impose a few exceptions to this rule, but apart from those (listed in detail below), you have a right to know who has access to your medical record.
WHO ELSE SEES MY RECORDS?
There is a balance between your privacy and safety, and we will normally share some information about you with others involved in your health care, unless you ask us not to. This could include doctors, nurses, therapists and technicians involved in the treatment or investigation of your medical problems.
[This practice is involved in the teaching of medical students and the training in General Practice of young doctors. If you see a medical student or GP trainee during a consultation, they may be given supervised access to your medical record.]
Practice nurses, district nurses, midwives and health visitors all have access to the medical records of their patients. It is our policy to try to have a single medical and nursing record for each patient. We firmly believe that this offers the best opportunity for delivering the highest quality of care from a modern primary care team.
Our practice staff have limited access to medical records. They need to notify the health authority of registration and claim details and perform various filing tasks on the medical records.
All our doctors, nurses and staff have a legal, ethical [and contractual] duty to protect your privacy and confidentiality.
WHERE ELSE DO WE SEND PATIENT INFORMATION
We are required by law to notify the Government of certain infectious diseases (e.g. meningitis, measles but not AIDS) for public health reasons.
The law courts can also insist that GPs disclose medical records to them. Doctors cannot refuse to cooperate with the court without risking serious punishment. We are often asked for medical reports from solicitors. These will always be accompanied by the patient's signed consent for us to disclose information. We will not normally release details about other people that are contained in your records (e.g. wife, children, parents etc) unless we also have their consent.
Limited information is shared with health authorities to help them organise national programmes for public health such as childhood immunisations, cervical smear tests and breast screening.
GPs must keep the health authorities up to date with all registration changes, additions and deletions. We also notify the health authority of certain procedures that we carry out on patients (contraceptive and maternity services, minor operations, night visits, booster vaccinations) and other "item-of-service" procedures, where we are paid for performing these procedures.
Social Services, the Benefits Agency and others may require medical reports on you from time to time. These will often be accompanied by your signed consent to disclose information. Failure to cooperate with these agencies can lead to patients' loss of benefit or other support. However, if we have not received your signed consent we will not normally disclose information about you.
Life Assurance companies frequently ask for medical reports on prospective clients from the GP. These are always accompanied by your signed consent form. GPs must disclose all relevant medical conditions unless you ask us not to do so. In that case, we would have to inform the insurance company that you have instructed us not to make a full disclosure to them. You have the right, should you request it, to see reports to insurance companies or employers before they are sent.
HOW CAN I FIND OUT WHAT'S IN MY MEDICAL RECORDS
We are required by law to allow you access to your medical records. If you wish to see your records, please contact [the practice manager] for further advice. All requests to view medical records should be made in writing to the surgery. We are allowed by law to charge a small fee to cover our administration and costs.
We have a duty to keep your medical records accurate and up to date. Please feel free to correct any errors of fact which may have crept into your medical records over the years.
WHAT WE WILL NOT DO
To protect your privacy and confidentiality, we will not normally disclose any medical information over the telephone or fax unless we are sure that we are talking to you. This means that we will not disclose information to your family, friends, colleagues about any medical matters at all, unless we know that we have your consent to do so.
This also means that we will not normally disclose test results over the phone and may wish to call you back to ensure that we are talking to the right person.
Our staff will not disclose any details at all about patients over the telephone. Please do not ask them to - they are instructed to protect your privacy above all else!
Finally, if you have any further queries, comments or complaints about privacy and your medical records, then please contact the practice manager or talk to your own GP.
Freedom of Information
The Freedom Of Information Act 2000 obliges the practice to produce a Publication Scheme. A Publication Scheme is a guide to the 'classes' of information the practice intends to routinely make available.
All new patients will receive a copy of our practice booklet and copies will be displayed at the reception desk.
Our surgery building will be welcoming, well maintained, easy for patients to find their way around and appropriate to the need of the users, including the less abled.
Urgent referrals to other health and social care agencies will be made within two days of the patient consultation or earlier when possible.
We will normally process non-urgent referrals within seven working days of the patient consultation or the doctor’s decision to refer.
When a doctor or nurse arranges for an investigation or test to be undertaken they will explain to the patient how to obtain the result which is normally available 10 days after the investigation has been performed.
Transfer Of Medical Records
When the health authority requests the transfer of a medical record on behalf of a former patient, it will be despatched within 14 days and within one working day when the record is required urgently.
Accessing Medical Records
The practice manager will assist any patient wishing to have access to their own medical record, subject to the relevant Acts.
The patient’s doctor will be available to explain medical terminology within the legal timescales.
Privacy And Confidentiality
We will respect our patients' privacy and confidentiality. Appointments with a doctor
For routine consultations and on request we will offer patients an appointment within two working days of the request. These appointments will be assessed through the nurse triage system.
For medically urgent problems we will offer an appointment on the same day as the request.
Surgeries and clinics will normally start on time.
We expect patients to be seen within 30 minutes of their appointment time and, in the event of a delay, we will offer an explanation.
When a doctor is called away on an emergency we will inform the patients and give them an opportunity to book an alternative appointment or, if preferred, be seen by another doctor.
The practice policy for home visits and how they can be arranged is included in the practice booklet that will be given to patients when they register. Out-Of-Hours emergencies
We will do everything possible to ensure that our system for contacting the duty doctor is easy to follow, reliable and effective.
Patients’ Rights to General Medical Services
Patients have the right to:
- Be registered with a general practitioner.
- See any doctor within the practice, irrespective of whom they are registered with.
- Be offered a health check on joining the practice.
- Receive emergency care at any time from the practice.
- Receive appropriate drugs and medicines within the NHS and Primary Care Group guidelines.
- Be referred for a specialist opinion within the current NHS guideline where appropriate and to be referred for a second opinion if they and the GP agree this is desirable.
- Have the right to review their medical records, subject to the provisions of the Acts, and to know that those working for the NHS are under legal obligation to keep the contents confidential.
- Choose whether or not to take part in medical research or medical student training.
- Receive information about local family doctors' services through the health authority local directory.
- Receive a copy of the practice booklet, setting out the services provided.
- Receive a full and prompt reply to any complaints about the services provided by the practice.
Comments, Suggestions And Complaints
The practice manager is responsible for handling comments, suggestions and complaints about any service provided by the practice.
All constructive comments and suggestions will be given consideration by the practice.
All complaints will be recorded and written complaints will be acknowledged within two working days of receipt.
We will respond to all complaints within 10 working days.
Where a complaint is made about a doctor, the patient will be able to discuss this with another doctor in the practice, if preferred.
The practice undertakes a patient satisfaction survey annually and also has a Patient Participation Group. Please contact the practice manager for further details.
Changes To Procedures
When changes are introduced to practice procedures that affect patients, we will ensure that these are clearly explained.
The procedure for obtaining repeat prescriptions will be explained in our practice booklet.
Repeat prescriptions will be available for collection from the reception desk within 24 hours of the request being received.
Answering The Telephone
We will endeavour to answer the telephone within five rings.
We will always answer politely and courteously and give our name so that you know who you are dealing with.
We will seek information to enable us to deal with the call effectively or pass it to the appropriate person.
Halcyon Medical aims to provide the best possible health care for its patients. However, there may be circumstances when it would be considered reasonable, or in the best interests of the practice to remove a patient from the patient list due to unacceptable behaviour. Unacceptable behaviour includes physical violence and any type of verbal or physical abuse, including threats or gestures (whether on or off practice premises), sexual and racial harassment, stalking, inappropriate emotional attachment to a member of the primary care team, any type of discriminatory abuse that is directed towards any member of the primary care team or towards patients or others on practice premises and will not be tolerated.
Patient Access to Medical Records
Access to Health Records under the Data Protection Act 1998
The Data Protection Act 1998 gives every living person, or an authorised representative, the right to apply for access to their health records.
A request for your medical health records held at Halcyon Medical Centre should be made in writing (e-mails also accepted) to the data controller who is Angela Hegan practice Business manager (please contact the practice for alternative methods of obtaining access if you are unable to make a request in writing).
Under the Data Protection Act 1998 (Fees and Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2000, you may be charged a fee to view your health records or to be provided with a copy of them. The maximum permitted charges are set out in the tables below:
To provide you with a copy of your health record the costs are:
Health records held totally on computer: up to a maximum of £10.
Health records held in-part on computer and in-part manually: up to a maximum of £50
Health records held totally manually: up to a maximum of £50
To allow you to view your health record (where no copy is required) the costs are:
Health records held totally on computer: up to a maximum of £10.
Health records held in-part on computer and in-part manually: a maximum of £10.
Health records held manually: up to a maximum of £10 unless the records have been added to in the last 40 days in which case viewing should be free.
All the above maximum charges include postage and packaging costs.
The data controller is not obliged to comply with your access request unless they have sufficient information to identify you and to locate the information held about you.
Once the data controller has all the required information, and fee where relevant, your request should be fulfilled within 21 days (in exceptional circumstances where it is not possible to comply within this period you will be informed of the delay and given a timescale for when your request is likely to be met).
In some circumstances, the Act permits the data controller to withhold information held in your health record. These rare cases are:
- Where it has been judged that supplying you with the information is likely to cause serious harm to the physical or mental health or condition of you, or any other person, or;
- Where providing you with access would disclose information relating to or provided by a third person who had not consented to the disclosure, this exemption does not apply where that third person is a clinician involved in your care.
When making your request for access, it would be helpful if you could provide details of the time-periods and aspects of your health record you require (this is optional, but it may help save practice time and resources and reduce the cost of your access request).
If you are using an authorised representative, you need to be aware that in doing so they may gain access to all health records concerning you, which may not all be relevant. If this is a concern, you should inform your representative of what information you wish them to specifically request when they are applying for access.
If you have any complaints about any aspect of your application to obtain access to your health records, you should first discuss this with the clinician concerned. If this proves unsuccessful, you can make a complaint through the NHS Complaints Procedure by contacting the practice formally.
Further information about the NHS Complaints Procedure is available on the NHS Choices website at: www.nhs.uk/aboutNHSChoices/pages/Howtocomplaincompliment.aspx
Alternatively you can contact the Information Commissioners Office (responsible for governing Data Protection compliance). Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF. Tel 01625 545745 or www.ico.gov.uk/