Confidentiality & Medical 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.
- Audit NHS accounts and services
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.
We may also share information with the following main partner organisations:
- NHS England and NHS England Local Area Teams
- NHS Trusts (hospitals)
- Special Health Authorities
- Ambulance Service
- Care Quality Commission
If you do not wish information about you to be used in such a way, please let us know.
Use of Third Party Mailing Organisations
We use a secure print and mailing company, DocMail, to handle bulk mailing to our patients such as the invitations to attend flu clinics and annual recall for chronic health screening. DocMail, which is provided by CFH Total Document Management Ltd, provides a print and mailing service for Local Government, GPs, Primary Care Trusts, Schools, Exam Boards and Banks, etc, throughout the UK. DocMail guarantees the security of your data and meets with the terms and conditions of the Department of Health Information Governance Assurance Statement. The records provided to DocMail will only contain enough data for them to provide the mailing service and all patient data is deleted 28 days days after the mailing. If you would prefer not to be invited to clinics in this way please let us know.
Freedom of Information
The Practice's Publication Scheme sets out certain classes of information routinely available to the public. The 7 classes of information available are: 1. Who we are and what we do. 2. What we spend and how we spend it. 3. What our priorities are and how we are doing. 4. How we make decisions. 5. Our policies and procedures. 6. Lists and Registers. 7. The service the Practice offers.
Requests for the Publication Scheme should be made in writing 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 in writing through the Practice Manager accompanied by a £10 administration fee which is non-refundable should the request be declined. No information will be released without the patient consent unless we are legally obliged to do so.
Additional charges payable in advance will be required for printed copies of medical records: £10 for electronic records and 35p per sheet for manual records.
For further information please ask for a copy of the patient information leaflets 'How We Use Your Health Records and Data Protection' and 'Fees and Charges' available from Reception.
We strive to deliver the best quality patient care at all times and in all areas of contact with the patient or patient's representative. However, there may be times when you feel you have received a less than efficient services or where you are less than happy with the service he/she receives.
If you have a complaint or concern about the service that you have received from the doctors or any of the staff working in the Practice, please let us know. We operate a Practice Complaints Procedure as part of the NHS system for dealing with complaints.
Most problems can be sorted out quickly and easily, often at the time they arise with the person concerned and this may be the approach you try first. Alternatively, you could discuss your concern with the Patient Services Manager to see if your concerns can be resolved. Alternatively, if you feel your doctor is the most appropriate person to approach, then you may do so.
If you wish to make a formal complaint, we ask that these are submitted in writing to the Patient Services Manager, either by completing the Feedback, Comments and Complaint form or by sending a letter.
Please let us know promptly if you have a complaint. In accordance with the NHS Complaints Procedures, a complaint must be raised within twelve months of the incident, or within twelve months of you becoming aware of the matter.
Please note we keep strictly to the rules of medical confidentiality. If you are complaining on behalf of someone else, we have to know that you have their permission to do so. Signed consent by the person concerned will be needed, using either our complaint form, or through receipt of a letter in the practice, unless they are incapable (because of illness) of providing this.
You may also find that if you are complaining on behalf of a child who is capable of making their own complaint, we will expect that child to contact us themselves to lodge their complaint.
Further written information regarding the complaints procedure is available from reception.
Escalation of Complaints
Every effort is made to resolve the dispute within the Practice, however, if you are not content with the outcome of your complaint at local level you have the right to approach the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. You have several options for doing this as follows:
- By Letter: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Millbank Tower, Millbank, London, SW1P 4QP
- Online via the 'Making a complaint page': ombudsman.org.uk/make-a-complain. You can also download a paper form from this site
- By phone to the PHSO Customer Helpline: 0345 015 4033 (8:30 am to 5:30 pm, Monday to Friday
Further details are available on the website: ombudsman.org.uk
You may also approach Healthwatch for help or advice. Further details are available on their website: http://www.healthwatch.co.uk
You also have the right to seek assistance with any complaint from Swan Advocacy Independent NHS Complaints Advocacy Service based at Swan Advocacy Network, 26 Milford Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP1 2AP. They can be contacted via telephone: 0333 344 7926, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or through visiting their website: www.swanadvocacy.org.uk.
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.
Being Open Policy/Duty of Candour
There is a contractural Duty of Candour for health bodies to be open and transparent with the patient when certain incidents occur in relation to the care and treatment provided to patients who use the service. For further information please see the Being Open Policy/Duty of Candour document.