This privacy notice explains why we collect information about you, how we keep it safe and confidential and how that information may be used.
Why we collect information about you
Health care professionals who provide you with care are required by law to maintain records about your health and any treatment or care you have received within any NHS organisation. These records help to provide you with the best possible healthcare.
We collect and hold data for the sole purpose of providing healthcare services to our patients. In carrying out this role we may collect information about you which helps us respond to your queries or secure specialist services. We may keep your information in written form and/or in digital form. The records may include basic details about you, such as your name and address. They may also contain more sensitive information about your health and information such as outcomes of needs assessments.
Details we collect about you
The health care professionals who provide you with care maintain records about your health and any treatment or care you have received previously or elsewhere (e.g. NHS Hospital Trust, other GP Surgery, Out of Hours GP Centre, A&E, Walk-in clinic, etc.). These records help to provide you with the best possible healthcare.
Records which we may hold about you may include the following:
- Details about you, such as your address and next of kin, emergency contacts
- Your home telephone number, mobile phone number, email address
- Any contact the surgery has had with you, such as appointments, clinic visits, immunisations, emergency appointments, etc.
- Notes and reports about your health, 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
How we keep your information confidential and safe
All your GP NHS health records are kept electronically. Our GP records database is hosted by EMIS Health Ltd, who is acting as a data processor, and all information is stored on their secure servers in Leeds, is protected by appropriate security, and access is restricted to authorised personnel.
We also make sure that data processors that support us are legally and contractually bound to operate and prove security arrangements are in place where data that could or does identify a person are processed.
We only use your mobile number to text you, regarding matters of medical care, such as appointment reminders and (if appropriate) test results.
We maintain our duty of confidentiality to you always. 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.
How we use information about you
Confidential patient data will be shared within the healthcare team at the practice, including nursing staff, admin staff, secretaries and receptionists, and with other healthcare professionals to whom a patient is referred. Those individuals have a professional and contractual duty of confidentiality.
Victoria Medical Centre uses data processors to perform certain administrative tasks for us, particularly where these involve large numbers of patients. Those data processors have a professional and contractual duty of confidentiality.
Referrals for specific health care purposes
We sometimes provide your information to other organisations for them to provide you with medical services. We will always inform you of such a referral and you always have the right not to be referred in this way. These include:
- Referrals for home oxygen services
- Referrals for Diabetes advice
- Referrals for Diabetes Eye Screening
- Referrals for Prediabetes advice
Data Sharing Schemes
A number of data sharing schemes are active locally, enabling healthcare professionals outside of the surgery to view information from your GP record, with your explicit consent, should that need arise. These schemes are as follows:
- The National Summary Care Record (SCR)
- EMIS Web data streaming (A&E and GP out of hours)
- Remote Consultations (GP out of hours)
- Yorkshire Ambulance Service
Mandatory disclosures of information
We are sometimes legally obliged to disclose information about patients to relevant authorities. In these circumstances the minimum identifiable information that is essential to serve that legal purpose will be disclosed.
That organisation will also have a professional and contractual duty of confidentiality. Data will be anonymised if at all possible before disclosure if this would serve the purpose for which the data is required.
Organisations that we are sometimes obliged to release information to include:
- NHS Digital (e.g. the National Diabetes Audit)
- NHS Counter Fraud
- The Courts
- Public Health England
- Local Authorities (Social Services)
- The Health Service Ombudsman
Permissive disclosures of information
Only with your explicit Victoria Medical Centre can release information about you, from your GP record, to relevant organisations. These may include:
- Your employer
- Insurance companies
- Local Authorities
Accessing your information on other databases
Victoria Medical Centre can access certain medical information about you, when relevant or necessary, that is held on other databases (i.e. under the control of another data controller). These include Frimley Park Hospital databases and NHS
Digital’s Open Exeter database. Accessing such information would only be for your direct medical care.
Victoria Medical Centre undertakes accredited research projects. Where this involves accessing identifiable patient information, we will only do so with the explicit consent of the individual.
Your right to opt-out of sharing your information
You have the right to opt-out (or object) to ways in which your information is shared, both for direct medical care purposes (such as the national NHS data sharing schemes), i.e. primary uses of your information, or for purposes other than your direct medical care – so-called secondary uses.
Accessing your own medical information
You can sign up to have secure online access to your medical records. Details of how to do this can be found on our website, by contacting the surgery or in our Practice booklet
The Data Protection Act 1998 requires organisations to register a notification with the Information Commissioner to describe the purposes for which they process personal and sensitive information.
We are registered as a data controller and our registration can be viewed online in the public register at: http://ico.org.uk/what_we_cover/register_of_data_controllers
For independent advice about data protection, privacy, and data sharing issues, you can contact:
The Information Commissioner
Cheshire SK9 5AF
Phone: 08456 30 60 60
If you would like any further information about primary or secondary uses of your GP record, opting out, the NHS Databases, access to your medical record, confidentiality, or about any other aspect of NHS data sharing or your medical records, then please contact the surgery.