Important information for patients
- This practice handles medical records in-line with laws on data protection and confidentiality
- We share medical records with those who are involved in providing you with care and treatment.
- In some circumstances we will also share medical records for medical research, for example to find out more about why people get ill.
- We share information when the law requires us to do so, for example, to prevent infectious diseases from spreading or to check the care being provided to you is safe.
- You have the right to be given a copy of your medical record.
- You have the right to object to your medical records being shared with those who provide you with care.
- You have the right to object to your information being used for medical research and to plan health services.
- You have the right to have any mistakes corrected and to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office.
- Please see the practice privacy notices below or speak to a member of staff for more information about your rights.
What is a Privacy Notice?
A Privacy Notice (or ‘Fair Processing Notice’) is an explanation of what information the Practice collects on patients, and how it is used. Being transparent and providing clear information to patients about how a Practice uses their personal data is an essential requirement of the Data Protection Act 1998.
Under the DPA, the first principle is to process personal data in a fair and lawful manner, and applies to everything that is done with patient’s personal information. In practice, this means that the Practice must;
- have legitimate reasons for the use or collection of personal data
- not use the data in a way that may cause adverse effects on the individuals (e.g. improper sharing of their information with 3rd parties)
- be transparent about how you the data will be used, and give appropriate privacy notices when collecting their personal data
- handle personal data only as reasonably expected to do so
- make no unlawful use of the collected data
Personal data must be processed in a fair manner – the DPA says that information should be treated as being obtained fairly if it is provided by a person who is legally authorised or required to provide it. Fair Processing means that the Practice has to be clear and open with people about how their information is used.
Providing a ‘Privacy Notice’ is a way of stating the Practice’s commitment to being transparent and is a part of fair processing, however you also need to consider the effects of processing on the individuals and patients concerned;
- What information are we collecting?
- Who collects the data?
- How is it collected?
- Why do we collect it?
- How will we use the data?
- Who will we share it with?
- What is the effect on the individuals?
- If we use it as intended, will it cause individuals to object or complain?
Conducting a Privacy Impact Assessment is an effective way of assessing whether you can safely collect or use patient data according to the DPA and Information Governance requirements. The Information Commissioners’ Office has published guidance on carrying out a PIA and can be found here;
Under the Data Protection Act, the data controller is the person or organisation that will decide the purpose and the manner in which any personal data will be processed – they have overall control of the data they collect, and decide how and why it will be processed.
A GP Practice is a data controller for the patient information it collects, and should already have data processing arrangements with third parties (e.g. IT systems providers) to ensure they do not use or access data unlawfully; the data controllers will have ultimate responsibility for the Practices’ compliance with the DPA.
The Data Protection Act 1998 requires organisations to register a notification with the Information Commissioner to describe the purposes for which they process personal and sensitive information. This information is publicly available on the Information Commissioners Office website www.ico.org.uk. The practice is registered with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).
This is a process to identify and manage patients that are more likely to need secondary care – information is collected in order to assess their ‘Risk Score’ and is sent to NHS organisations to assess and return the results to the GP Practice. This is an acceptable way of assessing patients’ needs and prevent ill health, however it is also regarded as a disclosure of personal information, and patients have the option to opt out of any data collection at the Practice, and needs to be made clear to them.
If the Practice shares information with any external organisations (within or outside the NHS), then let patients know by listing them. Partner organisations will usually include NHS organisations (hospitals, CCGs, NHS England etc.) other public sectors (Education, Police, Fire etc.) and any other Data Processors that may be carrying out specific project work with the Practice (e.g. Diabetes UK).
You will be informed who your data will be shared with and in some cases asked for explicit consent for this to happen when this is required.
We may also use external companies to process personal information, such as for archiving purposes. These companies are bound by contractual agreements to ensure information is kept confidential and secure.
How we use your information
This privacy notice explains why we as a Practice collect information about our patients and how we use that information.
Castlegate and Derwent Surgery manages patient information in accordance with existing laws and with guidance from organisations that govern the provision of healthcare in England such as the Department of Health and the General Medical Council.
We are committed to protecting your privacy and will only use information collected lawfully in accordance with:
- General Data Protection Regulation 2018
- Human Rights Act 1998
- Common Law Duty of Confidentiality
- Health and Social Care Act 2012
- NHS Codes of Confidentiality and Information Security
As data controllers, GPs have fair processing responsibilities under the Data Protection Act 1998. In practice, this means ensuring that your personal confidential data (PCD) is handled clearly and transparently, and in a reasonably expected way.
The Health and Social Care Act 2012 changed the way that personal confidential data is processed, therefore it is important that our patients are aware of and understand these changes, and that you have an opportunity to object and know how to do so.
The health care professionals who provide you with care maintain records about your health and any NHS treatment or care you have received (e.g. NHS Hospital Trust, GP Surgery, Walk-in clinic, etc.). These records help to provide you with the best possible healthcare.
NHS health records may be processed electronically, on paper or a mixture of both; a combination of working practices and technology are used to ensure that your information is kept confidential and secure. Records held by this GP practice may include the following information:
- Details about you, such as address, carer, legal representative and emergency contact details
- Any contact the practice has had with you, including appointments (emergency or scheduled), clinic visits, etc.
- Notes and reports about your health
- Details about treatment and care received
- Results of investigations, such as laboratory tests, x-rays, etc.
- Relevant information from other health professionals, relatives or those who care for you
The practice collects and holds data for the sole purpose of providing healthcare services to our patients and we will ensure that the information is kept confidential. However, we can disclose personal information if:
- It is required by law
- You provide consent – either implicitly or for the sake of their own care, or explicitly for other purposes
- It is justified to be in the public interest
Some of this information will be held centrally and used for statistical purposes. Where we hold data centrally, we take strict and secure measures to ensure that individual patients cannot be identified.
Information may be used for clinical audit purposes to monitor the quality of service provided, and may be held centrally and used for statistical purposes. Where we do this we ensure that patient records cannot be identified.
Sometimes your information may be requested to be used for clinical research purposes – the practice will always endeavour to gain your consent before releasing the information.
Improvements in information technology are also making it possible for us to share data with other healthcare providers with the objective of providing you with better care.
Patients can choose to withdraw their consent to their data being used in this way. When the practice is about to participate in any new data-sharing scheme we will make patients aware by displaying prominent notices in the surgery and on our website at least four weeks before the scheme is due to start. We will also explain clearly what you have to do to ‘opt-out’ of each new scheme.
A patient can object to their personal information being shared with other health care providers but if this limits the treatment that you can receive then the doctor will explain this to you at the time
Change of Details
It is important that you tell the person treating you if any of your details such as your name or address have changed or if any of your details such as date of birth is incorrect in order for this to be amended. You have a responsibility to inform us of any changes so our records are accurate and up to date for you.
If you provide us with your mobile phone number we may use this to send you reminders about any appointments or other health screening information being carried out. You may opt out of this service if you prefer by advising our reception team.
Access to Personal Information
You have a right under the Data Protection Act 1998 to request access to view or to obtain copies of what information the surgery holds about you and to have it amended should it be inaccurate. In order to request this, you need to do the following:-
- The quickest and easiest way to view your information is to sign up to Patient Online, details can be found on our website or by contacting a member of the reception team. Your online access gives you control over viewing your own medical information when it is convenient for you.
- You can make a request to the practice, in writing – for information from the hospital you should write to them directly. A form is available which can be obtained from reception or via our website to assist you with your request. You will be asked reasons for the request and also exactly what information you require i.e. information between specific dates.
- You will need to give adequate information, for example full name, address, date of birth, NHS number so that your identity can be verified and your records located.
- Depending on the complexity and nature of the request there may be a charge – the practice will advise you of this BEFORE we complete your request.
- We are required to respond to you within 4 weeks.
- You will need to collect any information from the surgery, it cannot be posted, with photographic proof of id. If you are collecting on behalf of someone you will need their written consent and also your proof of id.
How do we maintain the confidentiality of your records?
We are committed to protecting your privacy and will only use information collected lawfully in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 (which is overseen by the Information Commissioner’s Office), Human Rights Act, the Common Law Duty of Confidentiality, and the NHS Codes of Confidentiality and Security. Every staff member who works for an NHS organisation has a legal obligation to maintain the confidentiality of patient information.
All of our staff, contractors and committee members receive appropriate and regular training to ensure they are aware of their personal responsibilities and have legal and contractual obligations to uphold confidentiality, enforceable through disciplinary procedures. Only a limited number of authorised staff have access to personal information where it is appropriate to their role and is strictly on a need-to-know basis.
We maintain our duty of confidentiality to you at all times. We will only ever use or pass on information about you if others involved in your care have a genuine need for it. We will not disclose your information to any third party without your permission unless there are exceptional circumstances (i.e. life or death situations), or where the law requires information to be passed on.
Should you have any concerns about how your information is managed by the Practice please contact the Practice Manager in the first instance. If you are still unhappy following a review by the GP practice, you can then complain to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) via their website
If you are happy for your data to be extracted and used for the purposes described in this privacy notice then you do not need to do anything. If you have concerns about how your data is shared then please contact the practice.
Further information about the way in which the NHS uses personal information and your rights in that respect can be found in:
- The NHS Care Record Guarantee
- The NHS Constitution
- NHS Digital’s Guide to Confidentiality in Health & Social Care gives more information on the rules around information sharing
The Information Commissioner’s Office is the Regulator for the Data Protection Act 1998 and offer independent advice and guidance on the law and personal data, including your rights and how to access your personal information. Further information is available from the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) website
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