We respect your right to privacy and aim to keep all your health information confidential and secure.
It is important that the NHS keeps accurate and up to date records about your health so that those supporting you can give you the best possible advice, treatment and care. All staff sign a confidentiality agreement as part of their contract of employment.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new law that determines how your personal data is processed and kept safe and the legal rights that you have in relation to your own data. The regulation applies from 25th May 2018 and will apply even after the UK leaves the EU.
So what does this mean for patients? The GDPR sets out the key principles about processing personal data.
- Data must be processed lawfully, fairly and transparently
- It must be collected for specific, explicit and legitimate purposes
- It must be limited to what is necessary for the purposes for which it is processed
- Information must be accurate and kept up to date
- Data must be held securely
- It can only be retained for as long as it is necessary for the reasons it was collected
- There are also stronger rights for patients regarding the information that Practices hold about them. These include:
- Being informed about how their data is used
- Patients having access to their own data
- Patients can ask to have incorrect information changed
- Restrict how their data is used
- Move their patient data from one health organisation to another
- The right to object to their patient information being processed (in certain circumstances)
To comply with this new regulation, we have reviewed our processes, procedures and protocols updating many of these to comply with the changes. One of the core changes sees an update of our Fair Processing Notice (sometimes known as a Privacy Statement). One of the other changes linked to the new guidelines relates to data subject access requests (SARs).
Confidentiality is the duty of a person to not disclose anything learned from a patient who has attended, consulted or been treated, without that person's consent.
Confidentiality is the cornerstone of health care and central to the work of everyone working in general practice.
All information about patients is confidential: from the most sensitive diagnosis, to the fact of having visited the practice or being registered at the practice.
The duty of confidentiality owed to a person under 16 is as great as the duty owed to any other person.
All patients can expect that their personal information will not be disclosed without their permission (except in the most exceptional circumstances when disclosure is required when somebody is at grave risk of serious harm).
Responsibilities of Practice staff
All health professionals must follow their professional codes of practice and the law. This means that they must make every effort to protect confidentiality. It also means that no identifiable information about a patient is passed to anyone or any agency without the express permission of that patient, except when this is essential for providing care or necessary to protest somebody's health, safety or well-being.
All health professionals are individually accountable for their own actions. They should, however, also work together as a team to ensure that standards of confidentiality are upheld, and that improper disclosures are avoided.
We are responsible for ensuring that everybody employed by the practice understands the need for, and maintains, confidentiality.
Have overall responsibility for ensuring that systems and mechanisms are in place to protect confidentiality
Have vicarious liability for the actions of those working in the practice- including health professionals and non-clinical staff (i.e. those not employed directly by the practice but who work in the practice).
Sharing of Information
If there is the need for a clinician to refer patients to specialist clinics, the hospital or other health care providers involved in your care for example Social Services, it will be necessary to share relevant clinical or confidential information to be able to provide safe and effective treatment. This is always done in the patients best interest and in some circumstances may take place at a multi-disciplinary meeting. All health and care providers know that medical information is sensitive, personal and should only be accessed when appropriate. By signing the registration form to join the Practice, we assume your agreement to this. This information is also contained within the Practice booklet.
If you have any questions around how we collect, manage and share your data, please speak with our Practice Management team.