We ask you for personal information so that you can receive appropriate treatment. This information is recorded on computer and we are registered under the Data Protection Act (see below). The practice will ensure that patient confidentiality is maintained at all times by all members of the practice team. However, for the effective functioning of a multi-disciplinary team it is sometimes necessary that medical information about you is shared between members of the team as well as clinics and hospitals you may be referred to. Please ask the staff if you wish to discuss something privately away from the reception area.
Data Protection Policy
The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) requires a clear direction on policy for security of information within the practice. The policy will provide direction on security against unauthorised access, unlawful processing, and loss or destruction of personal information.
The following is a Statement of Policy which will apply:
- The practice is committed to security of patient and staff records.
- The practice will display a poster in the waiting room explaining the policy to patients.
- The practice will take steps to ensure that individual patient information is not deliberately or accidentally released or (by default) made available or accessible to a third party without the patient's consent, unless otherwise legally complaint. This will include training or confidentiality issues, DPA principles, working security procedures, and the application of best practice in the workplace.
- The practice will undertake prudence in the use of, and testing of, arrangements for the back-up and recovery of data in the event of an adverse event.
- The practice will maintain a system of "significant event reporting' through a no-blame culture to capture and address incidents which threaten compliance.
- DPA issues will form part of the practice general procedures for the management of risk.
- Specific instructions will be documented within confidentiality and security instructions and will be promoted to all staff
- In some circumstances we may be required by law to release your details to statutory or other official bodies, for example if a court order is presented, or in the case of public health issues. In other circumstances you may be required to give written consent before information is released - such as for medical reports for insurance, solicitors etc.
- To ensure your privacy, we will not disclose information over the telephone or fax unless we are sure that we are talking to you. Information will not be disclosed to family, friends or spouses unless we have prior written consent, and we do not leave messages with others.
- You have a right to see your records if you wish. Please ask at reception if you would like further details. An appointment will be required. In some circumstances a fee may be payable.
Staff Confidentiality Policy
All health professionals must follow their professional codes of practice and the law. This means that they must make every effort to protect confidentiality. It also means that no identifiable information about a patient is passed to anyone or any agency without the express permission of that patient, except when this is essential for providing care or necessary to protect somebody's health, safety or well-being.
All health professionals are individually accountable for their own actions. They should, however, also work together as a team to ensure that standards of confidentiality are upheld, and that improper disclosures are avoided.
Standards of confidentiality apply to all health professionals, administrative and ancillary staff - including receptionists, secretaries, practice manager, cleaners and maintenance staff who are bound by contracts of employment to maintain confidentiality. They must not reveal, to anybody outside the practice, personal information they learn in the course of their work, or due to their presence in the surgery, without the patient's consent. Nor will they discuss with colleagues any aspect of a patient's attendance at the surgery in a way that might allow identification of the patient unless to do so is necessary for the patient's care.