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Practice Policies

Confidentiality and Medical Records

Locked blue folderThe practice complies with the Data Protection Act 1998 and Access to Medical Records Act. 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).
  • When we have a duty to others (e.g. child protection cases).
  • Anonymised patient information will also be used at local and national level to help the Department of Health 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 clinical staff.

Freedom of Information

Information about the General Practitioners and the practice required for disclosure under the Freedom of Information 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.

INFORMATION WE HOLD ABOUT YOU

The purpose of Warmdene Surgery is to purchase and manage healthcare services to provide patients in our practice with the highest quality of healthcare. To do this, we keep records about you, your health and the care we have provided or plan to provide to you.

Most of the time we use information that does not identify individuals, such as statistical or anonymous data. There are some areas where we may use data such as:

  • Evaluation and review of services such as checking their quality and efficiency
  • Paying your GP for the care they provide
  • Checking NHS accounts and services
  • Working out what illness people will have in the future so we can prioritise services
  • Making sure our services can meet patient needs in the future
  • Preparing statistics on NHS performance
  • Reviewing the care we provide to make sure it is of the highest standard.

Some of our commissioning functions use data with your NHS number only.  This is only done under the current legal permissions of Section 251 of NHS Act 2006. Examples are:

  • Monitoring how care is delivered to patients
  • Making sure services are working well and using resources properly
  • Redesigning and modernising services
  • Understanding particular health needs in different geographic areas
  • Enabling only clinicians involved in a patient’s care to identify and contact patients who
    • would benefit from active case management
    • are at risk of needing hospital care in the future
  • Supporting care service planning and commissioning.

There are some commissioning functions where we use small amounts of confidential information. This may include your name, date of birth, address, summary of health details or outcomes of needs assessments. This information may be kept in written form and/or on a computer. In most of these instances you have given us consent while we were carrying out those functions or it is information you send directly to us, including:

  • Individual funding requests where patients and their GPs request special treatments
  • Assessments for continuing healthcare (a package of care for those with complex medical needs) assessments
  • Securing specialist services like learning disabilities and mental health
  • Responding to your queries, concerns or complaints
  • Assessment and evaluation of safeguarding concerns

KEEPING YOUR INFORMATION CONFIDENTIAL

Warmdene Surgery is committed to protecting your privacy. We will only use information collected lawfully in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and undertake not to use any information we may hold about you for any purpose other than that for which it was collected, unless we have obtained your consent.

In addition, everyone working for the NHS and the CCG is subject to the Common Law Duty of Confidence. Under the NHS Confidentiality Code of Conduct all our staff are also required to protect your information, inform you of how your information will be used and allow you to decide if and how your information can be shared unless there is a legal exemption.

We contract with North East London Commissioning Support Unit (an NHS Body) to provide a range of services to us, for example holding and analysing the data we collect from other healthcare providers. We ensure that our partner agencies handle our information under strict conditions and in line with the law. All staff have contractual obligations of confidentiality, enforceable through disciplinary procedures. Staff with access to patient identifiable information have received appropriate on-going training to ensure they are aware of their responsibilities and staff are granted access to personal data on a need-to-know basis only.

Data collected will not be sent to countries where the laws do not protect your privacy to the same extent as the law in the UK.

SHARING INFORMATION

In order for Warmdene Surgery to perform its commissioning functions mentioned above, information that we may hold is shared from various organisations which include: general practices, acute and mental health hospitals, community services, walk in centres, nursing homes, directly from service users and many others.

Information may also need to be shared for your benefit with other non-NHS organisations, from which you are also receiving care, such as social services and other providers from which we commission services. Where information sharing is required with third parties, we will not disclose any health information without your explicit consent unless:

  • You ask us to do so
  • A court order has been served on us
  • To assist the police in the prevention and detection of crime
  • To protect children and vulnerable adults
  • We have permission for health/research purposes (under Health Research Authority)
  • For health and safety of others (e.g. to report an infectious disease, such as measles)
  • The law requires it or to carry out a statutory function.

YOUR RIGHT TO WITHDRAW CONSENT

At any time you have the right to refuse or withdraw consent to information sharing. The possible consequences will be fully explained and could include delays in receiving care.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the information we hold on you or the use of your information, please contact us.

For independent advice about data protection, privacy and data-sharing issues, you can contact the Information Commissioner at:

Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Phone: 08456 30 60 60 or 01625 54 57 45 | Fax: 01625 524 510 | Website: www.ico.gov.uk

Complaints

Customer service formWe 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.

We have Comment Forms available in reception (or via our website) where you can leave both positive and negative comments.  Alternatively you can complete a Friend & Family Test Form.  We welcome feedback from patients as it enables us to review current systems and make changes where appropriate.

To pursue a complaint or issue with reception, appointments, telephone access, prescriptions etc. please speak to one of our Reception Team in the first instance.  If your issue is with something other than the above, please put your complaint in writing to the Practice Manager who will deal with your concerns appropriately. Further written information is available regarding the complaints procedure from reception or can be downloaded here.

Violence Policy

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.



 
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