We store all our patients’ medical records on our practice computer system (SystmOne). The NHS is committed to developing electronic patient records (EPRs) so health information can be shared between the clinicians responsible for your care.
We are responsible for the accuracy and safe-keeping of your medical record. You can help us to keep it accurate by informing us of any change to your name, address or telephone number and by ensuring that we have full details of your medical history.
If you change practice we will send back your medical record to NHs England Patient Services, to be forwarded on to your new GP. However, entries into your EPR made whilst you were registered with us will remain in our computer archives.
You have the 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 16 years. The law does impose a few exceptions to this rule but apart from these, mentioned below, you have a right to know who has access to your medical record.
We have to respect a balance between your privacy and good practice. We will normally share information with other health professionals involved in your health care unless you ask us not to do so. These people work for a variety of organisations such as NHS Trusts, CCGs, social services or private hospitals. Our nursing team have access to medical records. They are governed by the same professional codes of confidentiality as the GPs and will not disclose health information without your consent.
Administration staff also deal with medical records. They notify NHs England of registration details, scan hospital letters and input data into EPRs and file information which cannot be scanned into manual records.
When Do We Disclose Information?
We are required by law to notify the government of various diseases, for public health reasons. Law courts can also require that GPs disclose information to them (non-cooperation on the part of GPs can be severely punished).
A patient’s written consent is always required before any information is given to solicitors or life assurance companies. When completing an insurance report a GP must disclose all relevant medical conditions. You can ask to see the report before it is sent back to the company but if you instruct us not to make a full disclosure we have to inform the insurance company of your instructions. Limited information is shared with NHS England to organise national breast and cervical screening programmes.
Local authority and government agencies such as social services or the Benefits Agency may require medical reports. These do not have to include your written consent but we will assume that you wish us to complete these reports in your best interests. Failure to co-operate with these agencies can lead to loss of benefits or other support.
We are required by law to allow you access to your computer and written medical records. Requests need to be made in writing and we are allowed to charge a fee to cover our administration and any photocopying.
We have a duty to keep your medical records up to date. A patient is allowed to correct any errors of fact that may have crept into their medical records over the years.
To protect your privacy and confidentiality, we will not normally disclose any medical information over the telephone unless we are sure we are talking to you. This means that we will not disclose information to family, friends or colleagues about any medical matters unless we know we have your agreement to do so.
Access To Your Medical Records
You have a right of access to your health records. The Data Protection Act 1998 gives you the right to access information held on computer and in certain manual records. Please ask reception staff for a leaflet giving guidance on how to access your medical records.
Freedom Of Information – Publication Scheme
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.
IMPORTANT – REGARDING SHARING OF PATIENT INFORMATION
The way information is shared between healthcare organisations has is changing. Please read the following information and leaflets provided.
Once you have read this information if you wish to opt-out of any aspect of data sharing please request an opt out form from the reception staff.
Summary Care Record
Your Summary Care Record allows information to be accessible electronically by NHS Healthcare staff caring for you regarding your current medications, any bad reactions to medications and allergies.
If you opt not to have a summary care record, this means NHS healthcare staff caring for you may not be aware of your current medications, any bad reactions to medicines you have had and any allergies you suffer from, in order to treat you safely in an emergency. Should they require this information either in an emergency or as part of your care, this information can be requested by them from the GP Practice and be provided by letter, fax or phone during practice opening hours.
If you have any questions, or if you want to discuss your choices, please:
- Phone the summary care record information line on 0300 123 3020
- Contact your local Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS); or
- Contact your GP Practice
Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC)
Please read the leaflet ‘How information about you helps us to provide better care’
This provides information regarding the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) and how it collects and uses patient data.