Your Personal Health Information
To give you the care you need, we keep information about your visits to surgery staff involved in your care or treatment. These could be visits to a GP or practice nurse, or a visit by a health visitor. We keep information about your health and lifestyle and any illnesses, tests, prescriptions and other treatments that you have had. When this information contains things that can identify you, such as your name, address, postcode or date of birth, it’s called your personal health information. Your personal health information is stored securely on computer.
We sometimes share your personal health information with other organisations involved in your healthcare. We only share relevant information. For example, when your GP refers you to a specialist at the hospital we send relevant details about you in the referral letter and receive information back from them about you. We sometimes share information including your name, address and date of birth so that you can be invited for health screening.
We also need to use your personal health information for administrative tasks, but we only use relevant information. So that we can be paid for services we give you, we share information about you with relevant NHS organisations. These organisations help to check that public money is being spent properly. The surgery must allow these checks to be done and we need to share your information to be able to give you healthcare services.
Sometimes, we might use information about you and other patients’ to help improve our services or to check that they are up to standard. Whenever we do this we will make sure that as far as possible we don’t share any information that could identify you.
The surgery is sometimes involved in health research and in teaching student nurses, doctors and other NHS staff. We will not use or share your personal health information for research or teaching unless you have given your permission.
Where you need a service that we give jointly with your local authority, we will ask your permission before giving them your information.
Sometimes the law requires us to pass on information to other organisations. For example, we have to report all births, deaths and certain diseases or crimes.
The law sets out how we can use your personal health information. The Data Protection Act gives you rights about how your personal information is used, including a right to see the information we hold about you.
All NHS staff have a legal duty to keep information about you confidential and they follow a staff Code of Practice on Protecting Patient Confidentiality. If you have any questions about how we use your personal health information, or would like to see your health records please contact our Practice Manager. If you have any queries about issues in relation to Data Protection or Confidentiality, please ask to speak to the Practice Manager.
We have a room available if you need to speak privately to a receptionist. Please make your request at reception.
Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act was passed on 30 November 2000. It gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities, with full access granted in January 2005. The Act sets out exemptions to that right and places certain obligations on public authorities.
FOI replaced the Open Government Code of Practice, which has been in operation since 1994.
Data Protection and FOI – how do the two interact?
The Data Protection Act 1998 came into force on 1 March 2000. It provides living individuals with a right of access to personal information held about them. The right applies to all information held in computerised form and also to non-computerised information held in filing systems structured so that specific information about particular individuals can retrieved readily.
Individuals already have the right to access information about themselves (personal data), which is held on computer and in some paper files under the Data Protection Act 1998.
The right also applies to those archives that meet these criteria. However, the right is subject to exemptions, which will affect whether information is provided. Requests will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
The Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act are the responsibility of the Lord Chancellor’s Department. A few of its strategic objectives being:
- To improve people’s knowledge and understanding of their rights and responsibilities
- Seeking to encourage an increase in openness in the public sector
- Monitoring the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information
- Developing a data protection policy which properly balances personal information privacy with the need for public and private organisations to process personal information
The Data Protection Act does not give third parties rights of access to personal information for research purposes.
The FOI Act does not give individuals access to their personal information, though if a request is made, the Data Protection Act gives the individual this right. If the individual chooses to make this information public it could be used alongside non-personal information gained by the public under the terms of the FOI Act. G
Comments & Complaints
Blackfriars Medical Practice and its staff will do its utmost to provide every patient with excellent service. However we understand that it may sometimes be necessary to bring to our attention something you are unhappy with.
Patients who wish to complain must follow the procedure defined in the following document. Any persons outside the patient list or practice workforce will need to complain straight to an outside organisation.
The Health Service Ombudsman
The Health Service Ombudsman has published a booklet that describes the ‘six principles for remedy’ in relation to complaints handling and involves:
- Getting it right
- Being customer focused
- Being open and accountable
- Acting fairly and proportionately
- Putting things right
- Seeking continuous improvements
If you remain unhappy after everything has been done to try to resolve your concern or complaint you have the right to approach the Ombudsman. Tel: 0345 015 4033 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Write: Millbank Tower, Millbank, London SW1P 4QP.
The practice will request the removal of any patient from the practice list who is aggressive or abusive towards a doctor, member of staff, other patient, or who damages property.
All instances of actual physical abuse on any doctor or member of staff, by a patient or their relatives will be reported to the police as an assault
Patient Dignity Policy
This policy sets out the Practice provision to ensure that patients are afforded privacy and dignity, and are treated respectfully, in all appropriate circumstances where there is the potential for embarrassment or for the patient to feel “ill at ease”.
The requirement to respect patients is the responsibility of all staff, not just those in direct clinical contact with the patient.
Vulnerable patients in this respect may include:
- Homeless / no fixed abode
- Those with specific conditions
- Patients with communication difficulties
- Those patients with gender requirements
- Those known to staff / known by staff
- Family members
- The Practice will not stereotype patients based on perceived characteristics
- Patients will be referred to with respect even in private discussions in the surgery
- Patients will be addressed by their preferred method and titles (Mr, Mrs etc) will be used as a first preference by staff
- A sign will be available in reception to offer the facility of a private discussion with a receptionist if required
- Guide dogs will be permitted in all parts of the building.
- Under no circumstances will staff enter through a closed consultation room / treatment room door without first knocking, and waiting for permission to enter (if occupied), or pausing to determine that the room is empty
- Patients will be allowed free choice of doctor where available, and will be able to wait or delay an appointment to see their choice of clinician. Where clinically urgent patients will be encouraged to see a clinician appropriate for their “best care” however undue pressure is not appropriate
- Consultations will not be interrupted unless there is an emergency, in which case the room will be telephoned as a first step, before knocking at the door and awaiting specific permission from the clinician to enter
- A chaperone will be offered where an examination is to take place.
- Clinical staff will be sensitive to the needs of the individual and will ensure that they are comfortable in complying with any requests with the potential to cause embarrassment
- Patients will be afforded as much time and privacy as is required to recover from the delivery of “bad news”, and the clinical staff will, where possible, anticipate this need and arrange their appointments accordingly
- Patients will be able to dress and undress privately, a screen will be provided for that purpose. Patients using this facility will be requested to advise the clinician when they are ready to be seen, and they will be afforded sufficient time to do this bearing in mind infirmity etc.
- A clean single-use sheet will be available in each examination changed after each patient, and the patient will be advised of its availability
- Patients will be given adequate opportunity, time and privacy for the provision of samples on the premises without feeling under duress or time limitation
- Patients with difficulty in understanding due to language may have a family member or friend available to interpret or assist
- Communication by staff to patients will be individual according to the needs of the individual patient (e.g. those with speech difficulties, hearing, or learning difficulties may need an individual approach)
- Where an intimate examination is considered necessary to be performed on a patient with difficulty in understanding due to language or other issues (e.g. consent or cultural issues) it is recommended that a Chaperone or family member / carer should always be present
- Areas used by patients for dressing / undressing will be secure from interruption or ingress
- Patients who may have difficulty in undressing may be offered the services of a Chaperone to assist
- Patients will be requested only to remove a minimum of clothing necessary for the examination
- Consultations in the patient’s home will be sensitive to the location and any other persons who may be present or may overhear
Post – Consultation
- Clinicians and staff will respect the dignity of patients and will not discuss issues arising from the above procedures unless in a confidential clinical setting appropriate to the care of the patient (respectful of the patient even when not there)
General Data Protection Regulation
The general data protection regulation (GDPR) is a new law that determines how your personal data is processes and kept safe, and legal rights that you have in relation to your own data.