The practice policy on confidentiality is in compliance with guidelines provided by the British Medical Association. We subscribe to the view that the duty of confidentiality owed to a teenager even if under the age of 16 is as great as the duty owed to any other person. All information in your medical records is confidential and will not normally be disclosed to anyone without your prior consent. Exceptions are:
- in compliance with any legal requirement, such as a court order or statutory notification of infectious and notifiable diseases.
- disclosure to other healthcare professionals on a "need to know" basis where, in the doctor's judgment, this is necessary for the best treatment of the patient. "Other healthcare professionals" would include consultants to whom a patient is referred for a specialist opinion, practice and district nurses, health visitors.
- disclosure to NHS management for the purposes of Audit and accountancy. It is sometimes necessary to allow Health Authority auditors access to records to enable them to verify achievements claimed by GPs. Such staff are subject to rules of confidentiality which are written into their contracts of employment. You have the right to object to such a disclosure. If you do, please put your objection in writing, addressed to the practice manager and your letter will be retained with your notes.
- in the public interest. An example would be notifying the DVLA of the name of a patient who is unfit to drive and who has failed to notify the DVLA of their condition themselves.
SUMMARY CARE RECORDS
We are a Summary Care Practice. This means that we hold the key points of your medical records. The Summary Care Record contains basic information about:
- Any allergies you have
- Any unexpected reactions you have to medication
- Any medicine you have recently been prescribed
It is for use by healthcare staff anywhere in England if you need treatment when you are away from home or when your GP surgery is closed.
More information may be added when you receive further treatment. If you are concerned about any sensitive information being added you should discuss this with your GP. You can opt out of having an SCR by filling out a form at the surgery. However, the record will ensure that you receive better, safer care. Healthcare staff who are involved in treating you will only look at your Summary Care Record once you have given your permission, unless it is an emergency.
ACCESS TO MEDICAL RECORDS
Under the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998 patients are entitled (subject to certain exemptions) to have access to, and copies of, their medical records. Applications must be made in writing and addressed to the practice manager. A fee (currently £10) is payable for access with further charges payable for copies (up to a maximum of £50). Access/copies must be provided within 40 days of request and payment of the fee.