This leaflet explains who we are, why information is collected about you, and the ways in which this information may be used, who it is shared with and how we keep it safe. It also explains how the practice uses the information we hold about you, how you go about accessing this information if you wish to see it and to have any inaccuracies corrected or erased.
Who we are
The Barcroft Practice is a well-established GP surgery based in Amesbury. Our staff of General Practitioners, Nurses and Health Care Assistants provides primary medical care services to our practice population of 10,800 patients and our administrative and managerial staff support the team in providing care for patients.
What information do we collect from you?
GP Records are stored electronically and on paper and include personal details about you such as your address, carers, legal representatives, emergency contact details, as well as:
- Any contact the surgery has had with you, such as appointments, clinic visits, emergency appointments and telephone calls
- Notes and reports about your health
- Details about your treatment and care
- Details about any medication you are taking
- Results of investigations such as laboratory tests, x-rays
- Relevant information from other health professionals, relatives or those who care for you
Why do we collect this information?
Your records are used to ensure you receive the best possible care from our nurses and doctors. It enables the staff to see previous treatments, medications and enables them to make informed decisions about future decisions about your care. It helps the doctors to see lists of previous treatments and any special considerations which need to be taken into account when care is provided.
Important information is also collected to help us to remind you about specific treatment which you might need, such as health checks, or reminders for screening appointments such as cytology reminders.
Information held about you may be used to help protect the health of the public and to help us to improve NHS services. Information may be used within the GP practice for clinical audit to monitor the quality of the service provided.
Staff at the practice use your information to help deliver more effective treatment to you and to help us to provide you with proactive advice and guidance.
Who might we share your information with?
There are a number of ways information collected about you is shared, which includes:
1. Patient referrals
With your agreement, your GP or Nurse may refer you to other services and healthcare providers not provided by the practice, or they may work with other services to provide your care in the practice. Once you have been seen for your referral, the other health care provider will normally tell us about the treatment they have provided for you and any follow up which the GPs need to provide. This information is then included in your GP record.
2. Local Hospital, Community, Urgent Care Providers, Integrated Care Teams or Social Care Services
Sometimes the clinicians caring for you need to share some of your information with others who are also supporting you. This could include hospital, urgent care providers, community based specialists, integrated care teams, nurses, health visitors, therapists or social care services.
3. Summary Care Record (SCR)
A Summary Care Record is an electronic record of important patient information, created from the GP medical records. It contains information about medication you are taking, any allergies you suffer from and any bad reactions to medications you have previously had. It can be seen and used by authorised staff in other areas of the health and care system involved in your direct care. Giving healthcare staff access to this information can prevent mistakes being made when caring for you in an emergency or when your GP practice is closed. Your Summary Care Record also includes your name, address, date of birth and your unique NHS Number to help identify you correctly. If you and your GP decide to include more information it can be added to the Summary Care Record, but only with your express permission. For more information visit https://digital.nhs.uk/summary-care-records/patients
4. National Services
There are some national services like the National Cancer Screening Programme that collect and keep information from across the NHS. This is how the NHS knows when to contact you about services like cervical, breast or bowel cancer screening. Often you have the right to not allow these organisations to have your information.
You can find out more about how the NHS holds and shares your information for national programmes on the NHS website.
5. Other NHS organisations
Sometimes the practice shares information with other organisations that do not directly treat you, for example, Clinical Commissioning Groups, The GP Locality Team and The Local Medicines Management Team, Normally, it will not be possible to identify you from this information. This information is used to plan and improve services. The information collected includes data such as the area patients live, age, gender, ethnicity, language preference, country of birth and religion. The CCG also collects information about whether patients have long term conditions such as diabetes; blood pressure, cholesterol levels and medication. However, this information is anonymous and does not include anything written as notes by the GP and cannot be linked to you.
6. Local Data Sharing Agreements
The practice currently has two data sharing agreements, both of which are in place with the Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group. The agreements cover anonymised data extractions for the purposes of planning and improving services.
7. Electronic Repeat Dispensing (e-RD)
Patients receiving electronic repeat dispensing are considered clinically suitable for receiving medication in this way.
What do we do with your information?
The healthcare professionals who provide your care maintain records about your health. This is a record of your care history and allows health care professionals to review your care to help inform future decisions about your treatment. Sharing this information helps to improve the treatment you receive, such as a hospital consultant writing to your GP. We follow strict data sharing guidelines to keep your information safe and secure.
How long do we keep your information?
Health and social care records are subject to a nationally agreed code of practice which regulates the minimum period for which records must be kept. This specifies that GP record should be retained until 10 years after the patient’s death or after the patient has permanently left the country, unless they remain in the European Union. Electronic patient records must not be destroyed or deleted for the foreseeable future. For more information, see the records management code of practice:
How do we keep your information safe?
Every member of staff who works for an NHS organisation has a legal obligation to keep information about you confidential. We are committed to protecting your privacy and will only use information collected lawfully in accordance with:
- General Data Protection Regulation 2017
- Data Protection Act 1998
- Human Rights Act 1998
- Common Law Duty of Confidentiality
- Health and Social Care Act 2012
- NHS Codes of Confidentiality, Information Security and Records Management
- Information: To Share or Not to Share Review
We will only ever use or pass on information about you if others involved in your care have a genuine need for it. We will not disclose your information to any third party without your permission unless there are exceptional circumstances such as a life or death situation, or where the law requires information to be passed, or where it is in the best interest of the patient to share the information.
In May 2018, a new national regulation called the General Data Protection Regulation will come into force and the practice has a legal responsibility to ensure that we will also comply with these regulations.
Your individual rights
Data Protection laws give you rights with regard to your information, below are details of how we will manage requests you might make. If you have any concerns about the use of your data and your rights, please contact us.
1. How can I access the information you hold about me?
You have a right under the Data Protection laws to have access copies to the information the surgery holds about you and to have it amended should it be inaccurate. In order to request this, you need to do the following:
Write to us or inform reception staff that you want to access your record. For information from the hospital or other organisations you should contact them directly.
The practice will respond to your request within one month of receipt of your request;
You will need to complete an application form giving adequate information (for example full name, address, date of birth, NHS number and details of your request) so that your identity can be verified and your records located.
2. Have inaccuracies corrected or erased
If you feel that the personal data that the practice holds about you is inaccurate or incomplete then please let us know and we will update your records within one month of notification. If this incorrect information has been sent onwards, we will also inform any other organisations of this. If it is not possible to correct the information then we will write to you to let you know the reason behind the decision and inform you how you can complain about this.
3. Right to object – restrict processing
As a patient, you have the right to object to personal data about you being used or shared. We will always listen to your concerns and endeavour to manage them to your satisfaction; however we have to balance your concerns with our ability to provide you with safe and effective care.
If you are a carer and have a Lasting Power of Attorney for health and welfare then you can also object to personal data being used or shared on behalf of the patient who lacks capacity.
If you do not hold a Lasting Power of Attorney then you can raise your specific concerns with the patient’s GP. If you have parental responsibility and your child is not able to make an informed decision for themselves, then you can make a decision about information sharing on behalf of your child. If your child is competent then this must be their decision.
Objections / Complaints
Should you have any concerns about how your information is managed at the practice, please contact our Data Protection Officer/Practice Manager at the Practice. If you are still unhappy following a review by the GP practice, you can then complain to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) via their website: www.ico.org.uk
Our ICO Registration number is: Z4562378
Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and your information
The ICO recognises the unprecedented challenges the NHS and other health professionals are facing during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The ICO also recognise that ‘Public bodies may require additional collection and sharing of personal data to protect against serious threats to public health.’
The Government have also taken action in respect of this and on 20th March 2020 the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care issued a Notice under Regulation 3(4) of The Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 requiring organisations such as GP Practices to use your information to help GP Practices and other healthcare organisations to respond to and deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In order to look after your healthcare needs during this difficult time, we may urgently need to share your personal information, including medical records, with clinical and non-clinical staff who belong to organisations that are permitted to use your information and need to use it to help deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. This could (amongst other measures) consist of either treating you or a member of your family and enable us and other healthcare organisations to monitor the disease, assess risk and manage the spread of the disease.
Please be assured that we will only share information and health data that is necessary to meet yours and public healthcare needs.
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has also stated that these measures are temporary and will expire on 30th September 2020 unless a further extension is required. Any further extension will be will be provided in writing and we will communicate the same to you.
Please also note that the data protection and electronic communication laws do not stop us from sending public health messages to you, either by phone, text or email as these messages are not direct marketing.
It may also be necessary, where the latest technology allows us to do so, to use your information and health data to facilitate digital consultations and diagnoses and we will always do this with your security in mind.
How we look after your personal information during the Covid-19 pandemic when staff work from home.
In accordance with government guidance and in order to protect the health and safety of our staff during this difficult period we will be requiring [insert all relevant staffing groups] staff to work from home.
This means that staff may have access to any necessary personal and/or medical information in order to look after your healthcare needs.
We would like to assure you that our staff will be subject to all relevant security procedures and policies of the Practice to ensure that any information is kept safe, secure and confidential at all times.
If you are concerned about how your information is being used, please contact our DPO using the contact details provided in this Privacy Notice.