Confidentiality & Medical Records
We understand how important confidentiality is to our patients and we provide complete confidentiality between you and us at all times.
As a patient it is your right, with certain exceptions, to have all information regarding your personal health, whether kept on paper or on the computer, confidential ? and, to this end, all staff are required to sign a statement of confidentiality to ensure that the highest possible standards of confidentiality are maintained.
When you first register with a practice certain personal details, such as name, address and date of birth are passed to the Primary Care Trust and to the NHS Central Register. This enables your medical record to be located and passed to your new practice. Although the Primary Care Trust's database holds information on childhood vaccinations and immunisations and cervical cytology no other clinical information is held either there or at the Central Register.
It is possible, however, that it may be necessary to share some information regarding your medical history with other health care professionals such as hospital consultants, to ensure you receive appropriate treatment. In addition there are certain statutory requirements that require a practice to pass on information to the authorities, for example notifications of birth or death, infectious diseases, gunshot wounds.
In other cases, such as releasing medical records to solicitors when dealing with complaints or legal claims, information is only released with your written authority to do so.
The Practice occasionally participates in Department of Health commissioned surveys to assess patient experiences of aspects of general practice care. The Practice undertakes an annual patient satisfaction survey.
Freedom of Information
Information about the General Practioners and the practice required for disclosure under this act can be made available to the public. All requests for such information should be made to the practice manager.
Access to Records
In accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and Access to Health Records Act, patients may request to see their medical records. Such requests should be made through the practice manager and may be subject to an administration charge. No information will be released without the patient consent unless we are legally obliged to do so.
We need to hold personal information about you on our computer system and in paper records to help us to look after your health needs, and your doctor is responsible for their accuracy and safe - keeping.
Please help to keep your record up to date by informing us of any changes to your circumstances.
Doctors and staff in the practice have access to your medical records to enable them to do their jobs. From time to time information may be shared with other s involved in your care if it is necessary. Anyone with access to your record is properly trained in confidentiality issues and is governed by both a legal and contractual duty to keep your details private.
All information about you is held securely and a ppropriate safeguards are in place to prevent accidental loss.
In some circumstances we may be required by law to release your details to statutory or other official bodies, for example if a court order is presented, or in the case of public health issues . In other circumstances you may be required to give written consent before information is released – such as for medical reports for insurance, solicitors etc.
To ensure your privacy, we will not disclose information over the telephone or fax unless we a re sure that we are talking to you. Information will not be disclosed to family, friends, or spouses unless we have prior written consent, and we do not leave messages with others.
You have a right to see your records if you wish.
Please ask at receptio n if you would like further details and our patient information leaflet. An appointment will be required. In some circumstances a fee may be payable.
Complaints - Currently under review
The Practice operates a complaints procedure that conforms to NHS guidelines. In the event that you feel the need to complain please contact the Practice Director. We would aim to deal with any problem both quickly and effectively. You will receive an acknowledgement within 2 working days and an explanation within 10 working days.
It would be helpful if you could inform us of any problems as soon as possible after the incident has taken place and at latest within 12 months.
In investigating your complaint we aim to:
- Find out what happened
- Enable you, if you like, to discuss the problem with those concerned
- Ensure you receive an apology, if appropriate
- Try to prevent the same thing happening in future
If you are complaining on behalf of someone else, and in order to maintain patient confidentiality, we will require to know that you have their permission to do so.
Other Sources of Information
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
New NHS complaints information
Suggestions can be made personally or in writing to any of the Partners or the Practice Director and there is also a suggestion box in the waiting room.
The NHS operate a zero tolerance policy with regard to violence and abuse and the practice has the right to remove violent patients from the list with immediate effect in order to safeguard practice staff, patients and other persons. Violence in this context includes actual or threatened physical violence or verbal abuse which leads to fear for a person’s safety. In this situation we will notify the patient in writing of their removal from the list and record in the patient’s medical records the fact of the removal and the circumstances leading to it.