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Practice Policies

Confidentiality & Medical Records

Locked blue folderThe practice complies with data protection and access to medical records legislation. Identifiable information about you will be shared with others in the following circumstances:

  • To provide further medical treatment for you e.g. from district nurses and hospital services.
  • To help you get other services e.g. from the social work department. This requires your consent.
  • When we have a duty to others e.g. in child protection cases.
  •  Anonymised patient information will also be used at local and national level to help the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS England plan services e.g. for diabetic care.

If you do not wish anonymous information about you to be used in such a way, please let us know.

Reception and administration staff require access to your medical records in order to do their jobs. These members of staff are bound by the same rules of confidentiality as the medical staff.

Freedom of Information

Information about the practice required for disclosure under this act can be made available to the public. All requests for such information should be made to the practice manager.

Access to Records

In accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and Access to Health Records Act, patients may request to see their medical records. Such requests should be made through the Secretarial Team. No information will be released without the patient consent unless we are legally obliged to do so.

Access to a deceased patient's records can only be made by their personal representative, of which we require evidence.

Chaperone Policy

The Bridges Medical practice is committed to providing a safe, comfortable environment where patients and staff can be confident that best practice is being followed at all times and the safety of everyone is of paramount importance.

All patients are entitled to have a chaperone present for any consultation, examination or procedure where they may feel one is required. This chaperone may be a family member or friend.  On occasions you may prefer a formal chaperone to be present, i.e. a trained member of staff.

Wherever possible we would ask you to make this request at the time of booking the appointment; so that arrangements can be made and your appointment is not delayed in any way.  Where this is not possible we will endeavour to provide a formal chaperone at the time of request.  However, occasionally, it may be necessary to reschedule your appointment.

Your healthcare professional may also require a chaperone to be present for certain consultations in accordance with our chaperone policy.

If you would like to see a copy of our Chaperone Policy or have any questions or comments regarding this please contact the practice manager.

Complaints

Customer service formWe make every effort to give the best service possible to everyone who attends our practice.

However, we are aware that things can go wrong resulting in a patient feeling that they have a genuine cause for complaint. If this is so, we would wish for the matter to be settled as quickly, and as amicably, as possible.

To pursue a complaint please contact the Complaints Manager who will deal with your concerns appropriately. Further written information is available regarding the complaints procedure from reception or by clicking here.

Violence Policy

The NHS operate a zero tolerance policy with regard to violence and abuse and the practice has the right to remove violent patients from the list with immediate effect in order to safeguard practice staff, patients and other persons. Violence in this context includes actual or threatened physical violence or verbal abuse which leads to fear for a person’s safety. In this situation we will notify the patient in writing of their removal from the list and record in the patient’s medical records the fact of the removal and the circumstances leading to it.

Privacy Statement

The Bridges Medical Practice aims to ensure the highest standard of medical care for our patients.  To do this we keep records about you, your health and the care we have provided or plan to provide to you.

This privacy notice does not provide exhaustive details of all aspects of the collection and use of personal information by The Bridges Medical Practice.  However, we are happy to provide any additional information or explanation needed.  If you wish to request further information please contact the Practice Manager, Leonie Edwards 01305 774411.

How We Use Your Information

In order to provide for your care, we need to collect and keep information about you and your health on our records.  Your records are used to:

  • Provide a basis for all health decisions made by care professionals with and for you;
  • Make sure your care is safe and effective;
  • Work effectively with others providing you with care;

We  also may use, or share, your information for the following purposes:

  • Looking after the health of the general public;
  • Making sure that our services can meet patient needs in the future;
  • Auditing accounts;
  • Preparing statistics on NHS performance and activity (where steps will be taken to ensure you cannot be identified);
  • Investigating concerns, complaints or legal claims;
  • Helping staff to review the care they provide to make sure it is of the highest standards;
  • Training and educating staff;
  • Research approved by the Local Research Ethics Committee. (If anything to do with the research would involve you personally, you will be contacted to provide consent);

Disclosure fo Information to other Health and Social Care Professionals

We work with a number of other NHS and partner agencies to provide care services to you.  Below is a list of organisations that we may share your information with:

Our Partner Organisations

  • NHS hospitals;
  • Relevent GP Practices;
  • Dentists, opticians and pharmacies;
  • Private Sector Providers (private hospital, care homes, hospices, contractors providing services to the NHS);
  • Voluntary Sector Providers who are directly involved in your care;
  • Ambulance Trusts;
  • Special Trusts;
  • Clinical Commissioning Groups;
  • NHS 111
  • Out of Hours medical service;
  • NHS walk in centres;
  • NHS England
  • The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC)

We may also share your information, with your consent, and subject to strict sharing protocols, about how it will be used, with:

  • Local authority departments, including social care and health (formally social services), education and housing and public health;
  • Police and fire services

Computer System

This practice operates a Clinical Computer System on which NHS Staff record information securely.  This information can then be shared with other clinicians so that everyone caring for you is fully informed about your medical history, including allergies and medication.

To provide around the clock safe care, unless you have asked us not to, we will make information available to trusted organisations.  Wherever possible, their staff will ask for your consent before your information is viewed.

We consider patient consent as being the key factor in dealing with your health information.

Shared Care Records

To support your care, and improve the sharing of relevant information to our partner organisations when they are involved in looking after you, we will share information to other systems.  The general principle is that information is passed to these systems unless you request this does not happen, but that system users should ask for your consent before viewing your record.

Information on systems that The Bridges Medical Practice will share clincal records with is available from Dorset Clinical Commisioning Group (CCG).  Alternatively, please contact the Practice Manager on 01305 774411 who will be able to advise you further.

How we keep your information confidential and secure

We are committed to protecting your privacy and will use information collected lawfully in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998, Article 8 of the Human Rights Act, the Common Law Duty of Confidentiality, and the NHS Codes of Confidentiality and Security.  Everyone working in, or for, the NHS must use personal information in a  secure and confidential way.

We will only ever use or pass on your information if there is a genuine need to do so.  We will not disclose information about you to third parties without your permission unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as when the law requires.

At all times your information is kept secure.  We use encryption for sending electronic information and if we are sending your information in the post we use a special delivery service.

To protect your confidentiality, we will not normally disclose any medical information about you over the telephone, or by fax, unless we know that we have your consent to do so.

Anyone who recieves information from us is also under legal duty to keep it confidential and secure.

All persons in the practice sign a confidentiality agreement that explicitly makes clear their duties in relation to personal health information and the consequences of breaching that duty.

At GP practice multi-diciplinary team meetings care professionals formally sign in and by so doing will agree to abide by a confidential agreement.

Please be aware that your information will be accessed by non-clincal practice staff in order to perform tasks enabling the functioning of the practice.  These are, but not limited to:

  • Typing referral letters to hospital consultants or allied health professionals;
  • Opening letters from hospitals and consultants;
  • Scanning clincal letters, radiology reports and any other documents not available in electronic format;
  • Photocopying or printing documents for referral to consultants;
  • Handling, printing, photocopying and postage of medico legal and life assurance reports and of assoiciated documents.

Right of Access to your Health Information

The Data Protection Act 1998 allows you to find out what information about you is held on computer and in manual records.  This is known as 'right of subject access' and applies to personal information held about you.  If you want to see the information about you that the practice holds:

  • you will need to make a written request to the Practice Secretaries;
  • there may be a charge to view or have a printed copy of the information held about you;
  • we are required to respond to you within 40 days;
  • you will need to give adequate information (for example full name, address, date of birth, NHS number etc);
  • you will be required to provide ID before any information is released to you.

Who else may access your information

  • The law courts can insist that we disclose medical records to them;
  • Solicitors often ask for medical reports.  These will always be accompanied by your signed consent for us to disclose information.  We will not normally release details about other people that are contained in your records (eg wife, children, parents etc) unless we also have their consent;
  • Limited information is shared with Public Health England to help them organise national programmes for Public Health such as childhood immunisations;
  • Social Services, The Benefit Agency and others 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 loss of benefit or other support.  However, if we have not received your signed consent we will not normally disclose information about you;
  • Life Assurance companies frequently ask for medical reports on prospective clients.  These are always accompanied by your signed consent form.  We must disclose all relevant medical conditions unless you ask us not to do so.  In that case, we would have to inform the insurance company that you have instructed us not to make a full disclosure to them.

You have the right, should you request it, to see reports to insurance companies or employers before they are sent.

Sharing your information without consent

We will normally ask you for your consent, but there are times when we may be required by law to share your information with your consent, for example:

  • where there is a serious risk of harm or abuse to your or other people;
  • where a serious crime, such as assualt, is being investigated or where it could be prevented;
  • notification of new births;
  • where we encounter infectious diseased that may endanger the safety of others, such as meningitis or measles (but not HIV/AIDS);
  • where a formal court order has been issued;
  • where there is a legal requirment, for example if you have commited a road traffic offence.

GP Practice Website

The Bridges Medical Practice is commited to ensuring that your privacy is protected.  Should we ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified when using this website, then you can be assured that it will only be used in accordance with this  privacy statement.

You may choose to restrict the collection or use of your personal information in the following ways:

  • information you supply using any electronic form(s) on this website will only be used for the purpose(s) stated on the form;
  • whenever you are asked to fill in a form on the website, look for the box that you can click to indicate that you do not want the information to be used by anybody for direct marketing purposes;
  • If you have previously agreed to us using your personal information for direct marketing purpose, you may change your mind at any time by contacting us.

Concerns

If you have any concerns about how we use or share your information, or you do not wish us to share your information, then please contact the Practice Manager who will be able to assist you.



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