This privacy notice explains why Mount Avenue Surgery (Dr Ward & Partners) collects information about you, and how that information may be used.
As data controllers, GPs have fair processing responsibilities under the Data Protection Act 1998. This means ensuring that your personal confidential data (PCD) is handled in ways that are safe, transparent and what you would reasonably expect. The Health and Social Care Act 2012 changed the way that personal confidential data is processed. Therefore it is important that patients are made aware of, and understand, these changes and that you have an opportunity to object if you so wish and that you know how to do so.
Health care professionals maintain records about your health and any treatment or care you have received within the NHS (e.g. NHS Hospital Trust, GP Surgery, Walk-in clinic, etc.). These records help to provide the best possible healthcare.
NHS health records may be processed electronically, on paper or a mixture of both, and a combination of working practices and technology are used to ensure that your information is kept confidential and secure. Records held by this GP Practice may include the following information:
- Details about you such as address and next of kin
- Any contacts the surgery has had with you such as appointments, clinic visits etc.
- Notes and reports about your health
- Details about your treatment and care
- Results of investigations, such as laboratory tests, x-rays, etc.
- Relevant information from other health professionals, relatives or those who care for you
This GP Practice collects and holds data for the sole purpose of providing healthcare services to our patients and we will ensure that information is kept confidential. We can disclose personal information if:
- It is required by law
- You consent – either implicitly for the sake of your own care or explicitly for other purposes
- It is justified in the public interest
Some of this information will be held centrally and used for statistical purposes. Where we hold data centrally, we take strict measures to ensure that individual patients cannot be identified.
Sometimes information about you may be requested to be used for research purposes. The Practice will always endeavour to gain your consent before releasing the information.
Under the powers of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (HSCA) the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) can request Personal Confidential Data (PCD) from GP Practices without seeking the patient’s consent. The Care.Data Programme allows PCD to be collected by the HSCIC to ensure that the quality and safety of services is consistent across the country. Improvements in information technology are also making it possible for us to share data with other healthcare providers with the objective of providing you with better care.
Any patient can choose to withdraw their consent to their data being used in this way. When the Practice is about to participate in any new data-sharing scheme we will make patients aware by displaying prominent notices in the surgery and on our website at least four weeks before the scheme is due to start. We will also explain clearly what you have to do to ‘opt-out’ of each new scheme.
A patient can object to their personal information being shared with other health care providers but if this limits the treatment that you can receive then the doctor will explain this to you at the time.
If you have received treatment within the NHS, access to your personal information may be required in order to determine which Clinical Commissioning Group should pay for the treatment or procedure you have received.
This information would most likely include information such as your name, address, date of treatment and may be passed on to enable the billing process. These details are held in a secure environment and kept confidential. This information will only be used to validate invoices, and will not be shared for any further purposes.
How do we maintain the confidentiality of your records?
We are committed to protecting your privacy and will only use information collected lawfully in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 (which is overseen by the Information Commissioner’s Office), Human Rights Act, the Common Law Duty of Confidentiality, and the NHS Codes of Confidentiality and Security.
All of our staff, contractors and committee members receive appropriate and on-going training to ensure they are aware of their personal responsibilities and have contractual obligations to uphold confidentiality, enforceable through disciplinary procedures. Only a limited number of authorised staff has access to personal information where it is appropriate to their role and is strictly on a need-to-know basis.
We maintain our duty of confidentiality to you at all times. 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 (i.e. life or death situations), or where the law requires information to be passed on.
Who are our partner organisations?
We may also have to share your information, subject to strict agreements on how it will be used. The following are examples of the types of organisations that we are likely to share information with:
- NHS and specialist hospitals, Trusts
- Independent Contractors such as dentists, opticians, pharmacists
- Private and Voluntary Sector Providers
- Ambulance Trusts
- Clinical Commissioning Groups and NHS England
- Social Care Services and Local Authorities
- Education Services
- Police, Fire and Rescue Services
- Other ‘data processors’ during specific project work e.g. Diabetes UK
Access to personal information
You have a right under the Data Protection Act 1998 to access/view information the Practice holds about you, and to have it amended should it be inaccurate. This is known as ‘the right of subject access’. If we do hold information about you we will:
- Give you a description of it;
- tell you why we are holding it;
- tell you who it could be disclosed to;
- and let you have a copy of the information in an intelligible form.
If you would like to make a ‘subject access request’, please ask at reception for the application form. There may be a charge for this service.
Any changes to this notice will be published on our website and on the Practice notice board.
The Practice is registered as a data controller under the Data Protection Act 1998. The registration number is Z5855057 and can be viewed online in the public register at http://ico.org.uk/what_we_cover/register_of_data_controllers