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.
Freedom of Information
Information about the General Practioners and the practice required for disclosure under this act can be made available to the public. All requests for such information should be made to the practice manager.
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. No information will be released without the patient consent unless we are legally obliged to do so.
Online Access to Medical Records
As of March 2016, [Coded information from Medical Records / Full Medical Records] can be accessed as part of the Practice’s online services. For security reasons, you will have to visit the practice to undertake an identity check before you are granted access to these records.
To make a subject access request
A request for your medical health records held at Hetherington Group Practice must be made in writing (e-mails accepted) to the data controller - (please contact the practice for alternative methods of access if you are unable to make a request in writing).
You can apply using an Application for Access to Medical Records Form available from reception if you wish.
Under the Data Protection Act you will not normally be charged a fee to view your health records or to be provided with a copy of them unless the request is judged to be unfounded or excessive.
In the event that a request is deemed to be unfounded or excessive, a fee will be incurred based on the administrative cost of providing the information.
Once the data controller has all the required information, and fee where relevant, your request should be fulfilled within one month. (In exceptional circumstances where it is not possible to comply within this period, you will be informed of the delay within one month of the request. We will provide you with a timescale of when the information will be made available, which will be no more than three months after the request was made).
In some circumstances, the Act permits the data controller to withhold information held in your health record. These rare cases are:
- Where it has been judged that supplying you with the information is likely to cause serious harm to the physical or mental health or condition of you, or any other person, or;
- Where providing you with access would disclose information relating to or provided by a third person who had not consented to the disclosure. This exemption does not apply where that third person is a clinician involved in your care.
When making your request for access, it would be helpful if you could provide details of the time-periods and aspects of your health record you require. (This is optional, but it may help save practice time and resources).
If you are using an authorised representative, you need to be aware that in doing so, they may gain access to all health records concerning you, which
may not all be relevant. If this is a concern, you should inform your representative of what information you wish them to specifically request when they are applying for access.
GPs have ethical obligations around how patient records are shared, and will explain to patients,
in broad terms, the implications of making a Subject Access Request so they can make an informed decision on whether they wish to exercise their rights under the Data Protection Act.
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.
Also see the complaints tab for further information on how to complain.
The NHS operate a zero tolerance policy with regard to violence and abuse and the practice has the right to remove violent patients from the list with immediate effect in order to safeguard practice staff, patients and other persons. Violence in this context includes actual or threatened physical violence or verbal abuse which leads to fear for a person’s safety. In this situation we will notify the patient in writing of their removal from the list and record in the patient’s medical records the fact of the removal and the circumstances leading to it.