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Confidentiality and Data Protection

How We Use the Information You Give Us

Introduction

This document is to explain to you the types of personal data we hold about you and how we may use this information for the benefit of your health and wellbeing. The document advises you on how we allow, or do not allow, your electronic health record to be made available to other organisations, across a variety of healthcare settings. This is subject to your permission, via use of the computer system SystmOne. It informs you of your options should you wish to take further control of your SystmOne record. The information should be carefully considered and any concerns you have about the data we hold, and how we use it, should be raised with us.

The practice is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office and carefully follows General Medical Council guidelines on confidentiality, the requirements of the Data Protection Act and the General Data Protection Regulations due to be introduced in May 18. Confidentiality is one of the keystones of medicine and is central to maintaining trust in the doctor-patient relationship. Information you give us is treated in the strictest confidence.

The practice Caldicott Guardian is Dr Mike Scott.

The Data Protection Officer is Liane Cotterill, who can be contacted by email at NECSU.IG@nhs.net or in writing at:

Liane Cotterill, Senior Governance Manager & Data Protection Officer, North of England Commissioning Support, Teesdale House, Westpoint Road, Thornaby, Stockton-on-Tees, TS17 6BL

You have the right to view your record. See the information at the end of this page.

The personal data we hold about you

As your registered GP practice we hold your electronic health record. Prior to 2008 your records were on paper and we still hold these. Your medical records contain sensitive information about you, your health and your wellbeing. The following list provides an example of the type of information (both past and present) that can be held within your record:

What do we mean by ‘Direct Care’?

The term 'Direct Care' means a clinical health activity concerned with the prevention and investigation and treatment of illness. It includes supporting your ability to function and improve your participation in life and society. It also includes the assurance of safe and high quality care and treatment undertaken by one or more registered and regulated health or social care professionals and their team with whom you have a legitimate relationship for your care purposes. It does not include access to information for purposes such as insurance, advertising or marketing.

Who can information about me be shared with?

Any member of the practice clinical or administrative staff may need to have access to your health records for direct care. As a condition of their employment contract, every member of staff is bound by strict confidentiality codes of conduct, which includes what information they can access and when. Members of our "extended staff" such as Health Visitors, Midwives, Social Prescribing staff, etc may also need to access medical records in the performance of their duties. They are all similarly bound by NHS confidentiality regulations.

By registering with us, it is generally understood that that information may be shared with some individuals or organisations without your direct permission for your direct care. This is called implied consent but the new General Data Protection Regulations also gives us the legal framework for processing health information, including sharing relevant information with other health professionals for your direct care. Examples of information sharing include:

Who will information about me NOT be shared with?

We will not share medical information with anyone else without your express (and usually written) permission. This includes family members, employers, the police (exceptionally a court could order us to do this in the detection of serious crime), insurance companies, council and so on.

Sharing with Other Local Health and Care Organisations

It surprises many people that in this modern age, each organisation holds its own records and the systems currently do not ‘talk’ to each other – the hospital cannot see a patient’s GP records and vice versa. This means that patients have to keep repeating their medical problems and there is no way of checking what medication they are on. There are some ways in which we are trying to improve communication with other local health and care organisations.

Summary Care Record

The Summary Care Record is a national initiative to reduce these problems by having a central database that holds a record of patients’ medication and allergies. These are uploaded from GP records every time a change is made to a patient’s medical record. The Summary Care Record can only be accessed by selected health organisations and, except in an emergency, only with a patient’s permission. Unless you have already opted out you will have a Summary Care Record. You have the right to opt out (or opt back in) at any time by informing the practice.

It is possible to include more information in the Summary Care Record by including things like medical problems and vaccinations in an Enhanced Summary Care Record. We have written to most of our patients with ongoing medical problems to offer them the chance to have an Enhanced Summary Care Record. If you would like to add information to your Summary Care Record for use in emergency care, please contact the Surgery to request this.

Local Record Viewing including the Great North Care Record (GNCR)

GPs, hospitals and other relevant Health and Social Care agencies providing care to patients in the North East are co-operating to allow access to key information within GP records, such as significant health problems, test results, medication, and allergies. Under this project detailed consultation notes cannot be viewed. The amount of access to record information will be depend on the organisation and what each staff member needs to treat you.

The system has safeguards in place:

Organisations currently sharing records:

Health and Social Care Act 2012 - Data Extraction

Under the powers of this act, the Secretary of State for Health, through the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) (also known as NHS Digital), can, under certain circumstances, require personal confidential data from GP practices without seeking patient consent first. The information will be held securely and confidentially. This is quite rare but GPs have no legal right to block requests from the HSCIC for information. However, patients do have a right to stop HSCIC using their data. If you wish to opt out, you should go to the Your NHS Data Matters webpage.

Opting Out

You have the right to opt out of the Summary Care Record and Great North Care Record data sharing. This will have an impact on the quality of care you receive in an emergency if those caring for you do not have access to important health information about you. If you wish to opt out of record sharing, or wish to adjust how your personal confidential data may be shared, complete the opt-out form available from reception or at this link. Please note that, if you have children, you can also apply to opt out of sharing their information. The only circumstances when we will be obliged to share information is if there are concerns about child protection. You are now also able to alter your sharing preferences via your online medical record account if you have one.

Right to see your Medical Record

You have the right to see your medical records. We have a page giving further information about this. You can also ask for an online account which allows you to see your medical record electronically, as well as make and cancel appointments, order repeat prescriptions, see your test results and communicate with us securely.

Updated Oct 2018