Keeping Your Records Confidential

Your Doctors, their staff and everyone else working for the NHS have a legal duty to maintain the highest level of confidentiality about patient information.  In some instances you may be receiving care from other people as well as the NHS.  We may need to share some information about you with them so that we can work together for your benefit.  Anyone who receives confidential information about you from us is also under a legal duty of confidence.  Unless there are exceptional circumstances, for example, when the health or safety of others is at risk, we will not disclose information about you to third parties without your permission.  We will only give your relatives, friends and carers information if you want us to.

In certain circumstances we are required by law to report information to the appropriate authorities.

For example:

> Notification of new births

> Where we encounter infectious diseases which may endanger the safety of others (e.g. meningitis or measles, but not HIV/AIDS).

> Where a formal court order has been issued

This information is only provided after formal authority has been given by a qualified health professional. If you do not want certain information recorded on your records, please talk to your Doctor

Our guiding principle is that we are holding your records in strict confidence.

How Your Medical Records Are Used

As you know, your Doctor and the team of health professional caring for you keep records about your health and the care you receive from the National Health Service.  These are important to help ensure that you receive the best possible care from us.

Your records are use in the following ways to guide and administer the care you receive:

> To ensure that your Doctor or nurse has accurate and up to date information to assess your health and decide what care you need when you visit in the future.

> To ensure that full information is available should you see another Doctor or be referred to a specialist or another part of the NHS.

> To ensure that there is a good basis for looking back and checking on the type and quality of the care you receive.

> To ensure that your concerns can be properly investigated if you need to complain.

Your records also help to plan NHS services for the future and ensure that there is a good basis for checking that NHS money has been well spent and that staff are paid for the work they have done.

Whilst always preserving confidentiality, your records can also help us to help you by:

> Assisting with the teaching and training of health care professionals (you choose whether or not to be involved).

> Assisting with health research (if you need to be personally involved with the research you will be contacted and asked whether you are willing to participate.  You will not be identified without your agreement).

Freedom of Information

The Surgery conforms to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. We have produced a publication scheme in accordance with the Act, a copy of which is available from reception.

Data Protection

The Practice fully complies with the Data Protection Act 1998. Under the Act patients have a right to be informed whether personal data about them is being processed and have the right of access to the data. Patients can review the data processed and formal applications for access should be made in writing to the Practice Manager.

A fee may be charged for this.

Change of Personal Details

If you change:

> Your name

> Your address

> Your contact details (such as your telephone number or email address)

Please let us know as soon as possible so that we can update our records. If you are receiving treatment at a hospital it might also be a good idea to inform them of any changes so that both our records are consistent when we communicate with them.

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