Privacy Notice and Confidentiality

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 access 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.

COVID-19

Please read about how your information is being used for COVID-19 research.

Please be aware that we may use new providers or suppliers to help us quickly adapt during the outbreak and to continue your care effectively. For example, we may use a new provider for video consultations. We may not be able to add these to our transparency materials right away, and we apologise for this but please be assured that all of our processors are bound by contract to protect your data.

During COVID-19 we may ask you to send a photograph of your bruise or skin condition that you are concerned about whilst we conduct virtual consultations. This photograph will be used by the clinician to determine any medical treatment necessary and will be added to your medical record.

Please note that as this is sent via email, it may not be secure and we therefore ask that you only include your NHS number alongside your photograph in the email. The photograph should only be of the area requested and no other person should be visible in the shot.

Privacy Notice and Your Guide to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

We want you to understand and be confident with how we hold, store and use your personal information. This video provides a helpful overview to this.

Please know that we respect your right to privacy and aim to keep all your health information confidential and secure.

It is important that the NHS keeps accurate and up to date records about your health so that those supporting you can give you the best possible advice, treatment and care.  All staff sign a confidentiality agreement as part of their contract of employment.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a law that determines how your personal data is processed and kept safe and the legal rights that you have in relation to your own data. The regulation was applied from 25th May 2018 and will continue to apply even after the UK leaves the EU.

So what does this mean for our patients?

The GDPR sets out the key principles about processing personal data.

  • Data must be processed lawfully, fairly and transparently.
  • It must be collected for specific, explicit and legitimate purposes.
  • It must be limited to what is necessary for the purposes for which it is processed.
  • Information must be accurate and kept up to date
  • Data must be held securely.
  • It can only be retained for as long as it is necessary for the reasons it was collected.

There are also stronger rights for patients regarding the information that practices hold about them. These include:

  • Being informed about how their data is used.
  • Patients having access to their own data.
  • Patients can ask to have incorrect information changed.
  • Restrict how their data is used.
  • Move their patient data from one health organisation to another.
  • The right to object to their patient information being processed (in certain circumstances).

To comply with this new regulation, we have reviewed our processes, procedures and protocols updating many of these to comply with the changes.

One of the core changes sees an update of our Privacy Notice (sometimes known as a Fair Processing Privacy Statement). This statement discloses the way we gather, use, disclose, and manage the information we hold about you. It fulfils our legal requirement to protect your privacy.

Please see our updated privacy notice. This is also available in hard copy from our reception teams.

The NHS Business Services Authority has also issued a privacy statement regarding the way in which that organisation manages the information it receives from GP Practices and Pharmacies on the prescriptions that are sent to them to fund the medication and appliances that are dispensed to you.

One of the other changes linked to the new guidelines relates to data subject access requests (SARs). An individual can make a SAR to any organisation that they believe is processing their personal data. This request must be in writing or email. We have also created a form for patients to complete. Under the new guidance, responses will be made within 30 days. An extension of 2 months can be allowed if necessary taking into account the complexity of the request.

We have also updated our practice policy on subject access requests. A hard copy can also be obtained from our reception team.

If you have any questions around how we collect, manage and share your data, please contact the practice.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality is the duty of a person to not disclose anything learned from a patient who has attended, consulted or been treated, without that person’s consent.

Confidentiality is the cornerstone of health care and central to the work of everyone working in general practice.

All information about patients is confidential; from the most sensitive diagnosis, to the fact of having visited the practice or being registered at the practice. The duty of confidentiality owed to a person under 16 is as great as the duty owed to any other person.

All patients can expect that their personal information will not be disclosed without their permission (except in the most exceptional circumstances, when disclosure is required when somebody is at grave risk of serious harm).

Responsibilities of Practice Staff

All health professionals must follow their professional codes of practice and the law. This means that they must make every effort to protect confidentiality. It also means that no identifiable information about a patient is passed to anyone or any agency without the express permission of that patient, except when this is essential for providing care or necessary to protest somebody’s health, safety or well-being.

All health professionals are individually accountable for their own actions. They should, however, also work together as a team to ensure that standards of confidentiality are upheld, and that improper disclosures are avoided.

Employer Responsibilities

The GP partners at Attleborough Surgeries, as employers:

  • Are responsible for ensuring that everybody employed by the Practice understands the need for, and maintains, confidentiality.
  • Have overall responsibility for ensuring that systems and mechanisms are in place to protect confidentiality.
  • Have vicarious liability for the actions of those working in the practice- including health professionals and non-clinical staff (i.e. those not employed directly by the practice but who work in the practice).

Sharing of Information

If there is the need for a clinician to refer patients to specialist clinics, the hospital, or other health care providers involved in your care i.e. social services, it will be necessary to share relevant clinical or confidential information to be able to provide safe and effective treatment.  This is always done in the patients best interest and I some circumstances may take place at a multi-disciplinary meeting. All health and care providers know that medical information is sensitive, personal and should only be accessed when appropriate.

By signing the registration form to join the practice, we assume your agreement to this.