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. If you do not wish anonymous information about you to be used in such a way, please let us know.
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.
How you information is shared
Please read this leaflet carefully. It will give you information about how your data is shared for the purposes of direct patient care.
Your electronic health record
As a practice we aim to provide you with the best quality care that is safe and effective. To facilitate that we now work with a wider team to provide a comprehensive range of health related services to you and your family. The practice uses the clinical computer system called SystmOne, which enables your full electronic record to be shared to anyone involved in providing direct care to you, across different healthcare services.
Why is sharing my health information important?
Your electronic health record contains lots of information about you, including your medical history, the types of medication you take, any allergies you have and demographic information like your home address, and your next of kin.
In many cases, particularly for patients with complex conditions, the shared record plays a vital role in delivering the best care. Health and social care professionals can ensure coordinated response, taking into account all aspects of a person’s physical and mental health. Whilst some patients have extensive knowledge of their conditions and care requirements, this is not true for everyone. Many patients are understandably not able to provide a full account of their care. The shared record means patients do not have to repeat their medical histories at every care setting, or make guesses about their previous care.
A shared record ensures health or social care professionals always have the most accurate, up to date information. They can rely on their colleagues, sharing accurate and relevant data in a timely way, to provide you with safe and efficient care.
You have choices about whether or not your information is available to other providers who care for you.
To provide the best care, your electronic health record will be made available to other services involved in your care. Until you are registered at one of the care services, no information about you will be shared to them.
Although your record is automatically setup to share your information, you can ask your doctor for this option to be switched off. This will mean none of the information recorded by your doctor will be visible at any other care service.
When you visit other care services that use SystmOne you can give your permission to override your previous dissent, allowing them to view your record including any items marked as private.
If you would prefer that the override option above is never made available, you have the ability to request your doctor prevents it. However, this means your data will never be available at other care services.
Which services could I go to that could access my medical record with your consent:
- GP practices
- Community services such as district nurses, therapists and diabetes services
- Child health services that undertake scheduling of treatments such as vaccinations
- Urgent care organisations such as Minor Injury Units and Out of Hours services
- Community hospitals
- Palliative care hospices and community services
- Offender health – care providers within the health units
- NHS Hospitals (including A/E Departments) and Mental Health Trusts
- Care Homes
- Social care – registered and regulated professionals within social care organisations coordinating care (not social care providers)
Providing consent to view
When you start receiving care from a care service (that uses SystmOne), you have the right to either agree or disagree that they may view your SystmOne record. The health or social care professional seeing you should ask your permission for them to view your electronic record.
If you answer YES: That care service will be able to view information recorded on your electronic record by other care services (excluding any data you have requested to keep private (see below)).
If you answer NO: That care service will not be able to see any information recorded anywhere else (even if your record has been set to share from any other care services).
As a patient, you have control over who can see your health information. Even if you give permission on one occasion, you can still change this at any time.
Can I choose what is made available?
To give you the most personalised care, it is recommended that you share your whole health record with every service that cares for you. However, you have control over your record and have the choice to specify specific elements of the record you don’t want to be shared. For example, if you have had a consultation about a particularly sensitive matter, you can ask for this section of the record to be marked as private. That way, even if you consent for another service to see your record, that consultation will not be shown. If a consent override is used, then consultations marked as private will be accessible.
What choices do I have?
When thinking about how your information is shared, you as the patient can specify three main controls:
- Do you enable your record to be shared at all? If you have said ‘yes’ to sharing out from this organisation, for every care setting you visit you still get to decide if they can view your record. You do not have to make the same choice for every organisation.
- You can specify entries in your record that you want to remain confidential. These can only be viewed by the care service they were originally recorded at (unless the consent override is used for the reasons stated above). You can then decide if the rest of your record is shared at each care setting you visit.
- Saying no at this stage means no other care service can see any of your record. If you don’t want your record to ever be viewed by anyone you have a further choice to request that consent override is prevented
As a Practice we would strongly advise patients to register for online services. This will allow you to order prescription and book appointments over the web. It will also allow you to view your medical records and more importantly in terms of the Data Sharing will allow you to see who has looked at your medical records.
Locally the people who are most likely to view your medical record and provide additional valuable information are the community nurses and therapists, doctors and nurses who may see you at the Practice at Ditchling, Hassocks and Hurstpierpoint and St Peter & St James’ Hospice.
What do I need to do now?
- If you are happy for people providing care to yourself seeing your records, do nothing.
- If you are not happy for other organization who are providing care to you to see your medical records, then please let the practice know and we will turn off the consent on your records, preventing anyone seeing your records.
If you would like more information on how your data is shared please talk to us.
Freedom of Information
All requests for information should be made to the Practice Manager by email or by post. We may ask for the reason for the request and are entitled to challenge the reasonableness of some requests, but we will work positively with anyone requesting information to help clarify what is required and whether the Practice can meet the request. In cases where hard copies of info is required, charges will be made to cover the costs of copying, printing and postage. A lot of information is available for free on this website or in hard copy form on our reception desks so we encourage you to check those resources first.
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 through the Practice Manager and may be subject to an administration charge. No information will be released without the patient's consent unless we are legally obliged to do so.
Access to medical records leaflet
Access to medical records request form
We make every effort to give the best service possible to everyone who attends our practice.
However, we are aware that things can go wrong resulting in a patient feeling that they have a genuine cause for complaint. If this is so, we would wish for the matter to be settled as quickly, and as amicably, as possible.
To pursue a complaint please contact the Practice Manager who will deal with your concerns appropriately. Further written information is available regarding the complaints procedure from reception.
The Practice operates a zero tolerance policy with regard to violence and abuse and has the right to remove violent patients from our list with immediate effect in order to safeguard practice staff, patients and other visitors. Violence in this context includes actual or threatened physical violence or verbal abuse which leads to fear for a person’s safety.
Equal Opportunities service provision policy
Our committment to our patients and staff as stated by the NHS constitution - please click below for the link to the full document