Confidentiality & Medical Records
Under the Data Protection Act 1998, you have a right to know who holds personal information about you. This person or organisation is called the data controller. In the NHS, the data controller is usually your local NHS board and your GP surgery. The NHS must keep your personal health information confidential. It is your right.
Our use of your personal health information is covered by a duty of confidentiality, and is regulated by the Data Protection Act 1998. The Data Protection Act gives you a number of rights in relation to how your personal information is used, including a right to access the information we hold about you (see Access to Records).
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.
Everyone working for the NHS has a legal duty to keep information about you confidential and adheres to a code of practice on protecting patient confidentiality. Anyone who receives information from us is also under a legal duty to keep it confidential.
No information will be released without patient consent unless we are legally obliged to do so.
What if I am under 16?
When you are young, your parents are usually involved in your health care. They may make decisions for you, and speak to health workers on your behalf. But as you get older you have more rights. You can decide if you want your parents to be involved or not.
- In Scotland if you are 12 or over, the law assumes you can make your own decisions about your health care information unless there is evidence to suggest you can’t.
- If you are under 12, you may still be able to make decisions about your health care information but the doctor must believe that you understand enough to do this.
- When we talk about parents, we also mean anyone who is your legal guardian.
- If you want to talk about your health in private, and you need an interpreter, ask our reception staff to arrange this for you.
- In most circumstances your GP will keep your discussions confidential. However, if they think you are at risk of serious harm or in danger, they may have to tell another adult, and they will advise you of this.
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, you have a legal right to apply for access to health information held about you. This includes your NHS or private health records held by a GP, optician or dentist, or by a hospital. A health record contains information about your mental and physical health recorded by a healthcare professional as part of your care. If you want to see your health records, you don't have to give a reason. Depending on which health records you want to see, you should submit your request in writing to: Gillian Conn, Practice Manager. This is known as a Subject Access Request (SAR). Your GP can refuse your request if, for example, they believe that releasing the information may cause serious harm to your physical or mental health or that of another person. From 25th May 2018 there are no charges for SAR requests.
We all share a common purpose as partners in health and social care and that is to provide high quality care and ensure the best possible outcomes for people using care services. Promoting improvement is at the heart of what we do. We know that we deliver exceptional care on a daily basis but on occasion something may go wrong and it’s how we deal with these incidents that is important.
What it means for you
What happens when things go wrong
If you require further Information concerning our Duty of Candour procedures please contact the practice for a full copy of the policy.
We make every effort to give the best service possible to everyone who attends our practice.
However, we are aware that things can go wrong resulting in a patient feeling that they have a genuine cause for complaint. If this is so, we would wish for the matter to be settled as quickly, and as amicably, as possible.
To pursue a complaint please contact the practice manager who will deal with your concerns appropriately. Further written information is available here or from reception.
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.