Confidentiality and Data Sharing
Protecting our patients’ confidentiality is something we take very seriously.
Confidentiality is central to the trust between healthcare professionals and you as our patient. Without doctor-patient confidentiality, you may be reluctant to disclose information of a personal nature that we may need to help provide you with the best possible healthcare.
There are strict laws and regulations to ensure your health records are kept confidential and can only be accessed by health professionals directly involved in your care. There are a number of different laws that relate to health records, the two most important laws are the Data Protection Act (1998) and the Human Rights Act (1998)
Under the terms of the Data Protection Act (1998), organisations such as the NHS must ensure that any personal information it gathers in the course of its work is only used for the stated purpose of gathering the information (which in this case would be to ensure that you receive a good standard of healthcare) and is kept secure.
It is a criminal offence to breach the Data Protection Act (1998) and doing so can result in imprisonment.
The Human Rights Act (1998) also states that everyone has the right to have their private life respected. This includes the right to keep your health records confidential.
The ‘Confidentiality: NHS Code of Practice’ sets out the required standards of practice concerning confidentiality and patients’ consent to use their health records.
It is a guide for those who work within or under contract to NHS organisations and is based on legal requirements and best practice.
To ensure you receive the right care we may share information about you and your care with other health professionals. We will only use or pass on identifiable information about you with other health professionals who are involved in the direct provision of your care. We will not disclose your identifiable information to anyone else without your permission unless in exceptional circumstances (i.e. life or death situations), or where the law requires it.
By registering with this practice you are consenting to your information being shared.
If you do not want your confidential patient information to be used for research and planning, you can choose to opt out. Click here for more information.
What records do we keep in Hampshire?
In Hampshire, there are two types of electronic record which make patient information available for use by authorised care professionals and these are created from your GP, hospital or other health records. These are:
- The Care and Health Information Exchange (CHIE);
- The Summary Care Record (SCR)
The Care and Health Information Exchange (CHIE) is a secure system which shares health and social care information for people living in Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and surrounding areas. To protect patient privacy and confidentiality, only health and social care professionals who are involved in the care of a particular patient are allowed access to CHIE.
If you do not want to have your information shared please advise the surgery in writing and we can ensure a code is applied to your medical records.
So, what is the Summary Care Record?
The SCR is an national electronic record of important patient information, created from GP medical records. It can be seen and used by authorised staff in other areas of the health and care system involved in the patient’s direct care.
At a minimum, the SCR holds important information about current medication, allergies (and details of any previous bad reactions to medicines) the name, address, date of birth and NHS number of the patient.
Patients can also choose to include additional information in the SCR, such as details of long-term conditions, significant medical history, or specific communications needs.
If you are registered with a GP practice in England your SCR is created automatically, unless you have opted out. You can talk to your practice about including additional information to do with long term conditions, care preferences or specific communications needs.
Integrated Primary Care Access Service (IPCAS)
Patients now have the opportunity to book an appointment to see a GP or a nurse outside normal practice opening hours.
Locally our service will run from Petersfield Community Hospital and will be staffed by local GPs and nurses. Once you consent to an appointment being booked, staff will have access to your notes for the duration of the appointment in order to be able to offer you full medical care. If you do not book an appointment, your notes will not be accessible.
The IPCAS is not directly bookable by patients; staff at the surgery can offer a routine appointment within the service when you call to book an appointment. Additionally, if you have cause to call 111 on a Saturday you may be signposted to the IPCAS instead of to the Out of Hours doctor.
When booking an appointment in the IPCAS you will be asked for your consent to share your record. On arrival at the service the clinician consulting you will again seek permission to access your records.
The clinical system will also have a full audit record for any occasion that your records have been accessed.