Privacy And Confidentiality Of Your Medical Records
Your medical record is a life-long history of your consultations, investigations, prescriptions, illnesses and other treatments. The doctor-patient relationship sits at the heart of good general practice and is based on mutual trust and confidence. The evidence of that relationship over the years is your medical record.
At the Harold Road Surgery we maintain all our patients' medical records on our practice computer system.
Your doctor is responsible for the accuracy and safekeeping of your medical records. You can help us keep it accurate by informing us of any change in your name, address, marital status and by ensuring that we have full details of important medical history.
If you wish to move to another area or change GP, we will send your records to the Primary Care Trust to be passed on to your new practice. However, we shall keep a copy of all entries made on our computer whilst you were registered with us.
You have a right to keep your personal health information confidential between you and your doctor. This applies to everyone over the age of 16 and in certain cases to those under 16. The law does impose a few exceptions to this rule but apart from those detailed below, you have a right to know who has access to your medical records.
Who Else Sees My Records?
We have to strike a balance between your privacy and welbeing and we will normally share some information with others involved in your health care, unless you ask us not to. This could include doctors, nurses, NHS Trusts, Primary Care Trusts, Social Services, education service, private sectors (ie insurance companies), therapists and technicians involved in the treatment or investigation of your medical problems.
Our practice nurses, district nurses, midwives and health visitors all have access to the medical records of their patients. It is our policy to maintain a single medical and nursing record for each patient. We believe that this offers the best opportunity for delivering the highest quality of care from a modern Primary Care Team.
Our practice staff have limited administrative access to medical records. They notify the Health Authority of registration details and perform various filing tasks.
All our doctors, nurses and staff have a legal, ethical and contractual obligation to protect your privacy and confidentiality.
Where Else Do We Send Patient Information?
We are required by law to notify the Government of certain infectious diseases eg meningitis, measles (but not AIDS) for public health reasons.
The law courts can also insist that GPs disclose medical records to them. Doctors cannot refuse to co-operate with the courts. We are often asked for medical reports from solicitors. These will always be accompanied by the patient's signed consent for us to disclose information. We would not normally release any details about other people that are contained in your records (eg spouse, children, parents etc) unless we also have their consent.
Listed information is shared with health authorities to help them organise national programmes for public health, such as childhood immunisations, cervical smear tests and breast screening.
GPs must keep the Primary Care Trusts up to date with all registration changes, additions and deletions.
Social Services, the Benefits Agency and other Government agencies may require medical reports on you from time to time; these will often be accompanied by your signed consent to disclose information. Failure to co-operate with these agencies can lead to a patient's loss of benefit or other support. We would normally assume that you wish us to complete these reports in your best interest unless you specify otherwise.
Life Assurance companies frequently ask GPs for medical reports on prospective clients. These are always accompanied by your consent. GPs must disclose all relevant medical conditions in the report unless you ask us not to do so. In that case we would have to inform the insurance company that you had instructed us not to make a full disclosure to them.
How Can I Find Out What's In My Medical Records?
We are required by law to allow you access to your computerised and written medical records. If you wish to see your records, please contact our practice managers for further advice. All requests MUST be made in writing to the surgery. We are permitted to charge a fee to cover our administration and costs.
You can contact the practice manager by phoning the surgery on 01424 720878.
We have a duty to keep your medical records accurate and up to date. Please assist us by advising us when you change address or if you feel there are any errors of fact that may have been entered in to your records.
What We Will Not Do
To protect your privacy and confidentiality, we will not disclose any medical information over the telephone unless we are assured we are talking to you. This means that we cannot disclose information to your family, friends, or colleagues, unless we know we have your consent to do so.
Finally, if you have any further queries or comments regarding privacy and your medical records, please contact the practice manager or talk to your own GP.
Freedom Of Information - Publication Scheme
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 obliges the practice to produce a Publication Scheme. A Publication Scheme is a guide to the ‘classes’ of information the practice intends to routinely make available. This scheme is available from reception.