How we use your information
This privacy notice explains why we as a Practice collect information about our patients and how we use that information.
Densham Surgery manages patient information in accordance with existing laws and with guidance from organisations that govern the provision of healthcare in England such as the Department of Health and the General Medical Council.
We are committed to protecting your privacy and will only use information collected lawfully in accordance with:
- Data Protection Act 1998
- Human Rights Act 1998
- Common Law Duty of Confidentiality
- Health and Social Care Act 2012
- NHS Codes of Confidentiality and Information Security
As data controllers, GPs have fair processing responsibilities under the Data Protection Act 1998. In practice, this means ensuring that your personal confidential data (PCD) is handled clearly and transparently, and in a reasonably expected way.
The Health and Social Care Act 2012 changed the way that personal confidential data is processed, therefore it is important that our patients are aware of and understand these changes, and that you have an opportunity to object and know how to do so.
The health care professionals who provide you with care maintain records about your health and any NHS treatment or care you have received (e.g. NHS Hospital Trust, GP Surgery, Walk-in clinic, etc.). These records help to provide you with the best possible healthcare.
NHS health records may be processed electronically, on paper or a mixture of both; a combination of working practices and technology are used to ensure that your information is kept confidential and secure. Records held by this GP practice may include the following information:
- Details about you, such as address and next of kin
- Any contact the practice has had with you, including appointments (emergency or scheduled), clinic visits, etc
- Notes and reports about your health
- Details about treatment and care received
- Results of investigations, such as laboratory tests, x-rays, etc.
- Relevant information from other health professionals, relatives or those who care for you
The practice collects and holds data for the sole purpose of providing healthcare services to our patients and we will ensure that the information is kept confidential. However, we can disclose personal information if:
- a) It is required by law
- b) You provide consent – either implicitly or for the sake of their own care, or explicitly for other purposes
- c) It is justified to be in the public interest
Some of this information will be held centrally and used for statistical purposes. Where we hold data centrally, we take strict and secure measures to ensure that individual patients cannot be identified.
Information may be used for clinical audit purposes to monitor the quality of service provided, and may be held centrally and used for statistical purposes. Where we do this we ensure that patient records cannot be identified.
Sometimes your information may be requested to be used for clinical research purposes – the practice will always endeavour to gain your consent before releasing the information.
Improvements in information technology are also making it possible for us to share data with other healthcare providers with the objective of providing you with better care.
Patients can choose to withdraw their consent to their data being used in this way. When the practice is about to participate in any new data-sharing scheme we will make patients aware by displaying prominent notices in the surgery and on our website at least four weeks before the scheme is due to start. We will also explain clearly what you have to do to ‘opt out’ of each new scheme.
A patient can object to their personal information being shared with other health care providers but if this limits the treatment that you can receive then the doctor will explain this to you at the time.
How the NHS and care services use your information
Densham Surgery is one of many organisations working in the health and care system to improve care for patients and the public).
Whenever you use a health or care service, such as attending Accident & Emergency or using Community Care services, important information about you is collected in a patient record for that service. Collecting this information helps to ensure you get the best possible care and treatment.
The information collected about you when you use these services can also be used and provided to other organisations for purposes beyond your individual care, for instance to help with:
- improving the quality and standards of care provided
- research into the development of new treatments
- preventing illness and diseases
- monitoring safety
- planning services
This may only take place when there is a clear legal basis to use this information. All these uses help to provide better health and care for you, your family and future generations. Confidential patient information about your health and care is only used like this where allowed by law.
Most of the time, anonymised data is used for research and planning so that you cannot be identified in which case your confidential patient information isn’t needed.
You have a choice about whether you want your confidential patient information to be used in this way. If you are happy with this use of information you do not need to do anything. If you do choose to opt out your confidential patient information will still be used to support your individual care.
To find out more or to register your choice to opt out, please visit www.nhs.uk/your-nhs-data-matters. On this web page you will:
- See what is meant by confidential patient information
- Find examples of when confidential patient information is used for individual care and examples of when it is used for purposes beyond individual care
- Find out more about the benefits of sharing data
- Understand more about who uses the data
- Find out how your data is protected
- Be able to access the system to view, set or change your opt-out setting
- Find the contact telephone number if you want to know any more or to set/change your opt-out by phone
- See the situations where the opt-out will not apply
You can also find out more about how patient information is used at:
https://www.hra.nhs.uk/information-about-patients/ (which covers health and care research); and
https://understandingpatientdata.org.uk/what-you-need-know (which covers how and why patient information is used, the safeguards and how decisions are made)
You can change your mind about your choice at any time.
Data being used or shared for purposes beyond individual care does not include your data being shared with insurance companies or used for marketing purposes and data would only be used in this way with your specific agreement.
Health and care organisations have until 2020 to put systems and processes in place so they can be compliant with the national data opt-out and apply your choice to any confidential patient information they use or share for purposes beyond your individual care. Our organisation ‘is currently’ compliant with the national data opt-out policy.
If you provide us with your mobile phone number we may use this to send you reminders about any appointments or other health screening information being carried out.
Risk stratification is a process for identifying and managing patients who are at high risk of requiring emergency or urgent care. Typically this is because patients have a long-term condition such as COPD, cancer or other medical condition at risk of sudden worsening. NHS England encourages GPs to use risk stratification tools as part of their local strategies for supporting patients with long-term conditions and to provide care plans and planned care with the aim to prevent avoidable admissions or other emergency care.
Risk stratification enables your GP to focus on preventing ill health and not just the treatment of sickness. If necessary your GP may be able to offer you additional services.
Please note that you have the right to opt out of Risk Stratification.
Should you have any concerns about how your information is managed, or wish to opt out of any data collection at the practice, please contact the practice, or your healthcare professional to discuss how the disclosure of your personal information can be limited.
Patients have the right to change their minds and reverse a previous decision. Please contact the practice, if you change your mind regarding any previous choice.
If you have received treatment within the NHS your personal information may be shared within a strictly monitored, secure and confidential environment in order to determine which HB/CCG should pay for the treatment or procedure you have received.
Information such as your name, address and date of treatment may be passed on to enable the billing process - these details are held in a secure environment and kept confidential.
This information will only be used to validate invoices, and will not be shared for any further commissioning purposes.
How do we maintain the confidentiality of your records?
We are committed to protecting your privacy and will only use information collected lawfully in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 (which is overseen by the Information Commissioner’s Office), Human Rights Act, the Common Law Duty of Confidentiality, and the NHS Codes of Confidentiality and Security. Every staff member who works for an NHS organisation has a legal obligation to maintain the confidentiality of patient information.
All of our staff, contractors and committee members receive appropriate and regular training to ensure they are aware of their personal responsibilities and have legal and contractual obligations to uphold confidentiality, enforceable through disciplinary procedures. Only a limited number of authorised staff has access to personal information where it is appropriate to their role and is strictly on a need-to-know basis.
We maintain our duty of confidentiality to you at all times. 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.
Who are our partner organisations?
We may also have to share your information, subject to strict agreements on how it will be used, with the following organisations:
NHS Trusts – North tees & Hartlepool Hospital, South Tees Hospital, Tees and Esk Wear Valley Trust, Sunderland Hospital, Tees Valley, BMI, Nuffield, this may also include other hospitals if you choose to receive care further afield e.g. Newcastle & Darlington NHS Trusts.
- 111 and Out of Hours Service
- Specialist Trusts
- Independent Contractors such as dentists, opticians, pharmacists
- Private Sector Providers
- Voluntary Sector Providers
- Ambulance Trusts
- Clinical Commissioning Groups
- Social Care Services
- Local Authorities
- Education Services
Access to personal information
You have a right under the Data Protection Act 1998 to access/view information the practice holds about you, and to have it amended or removed should it be inaccurate. This is known as ‘the right of subject access.’ If we do hold information about you we will:
- give you a description of it
- tell you why we are holding it
- tell you who it could be disclosed to
- let you have a copy of the information in an intelligible form
If you would like to make a ‘subject access request’, please contact the Practice Manager in writing. Any changes to this notice will be published on our website and on the practice notice board.
Change of Details
It is important that you tell the person treating you if any of your details such as your name or address have changed or if any of your details such as date of birth is incorrect in order for this to be amended. You have a responsibility to inform us of any changes so our records are accurate and up to date for you.
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. This information is publicly available on the Information Commissioners Office website www.ico.org.uk.
Who is the Data Controller?
As your registered GP Practice, we are the data controller for any personal data that we hold about you. Any changes to this notice will be published on our website and displayed in prominent notices in the surgery.
The Data Protection Officer for the practice is Liane Cotterrill who will oversee any issues in regards to data control.
Further information about the way in which the NHS uses personal information and your rights in that respect can be found in:
- The NHS Care Record Guarantee: http://www.nigb.nhs.uk/pubs/nhscrg.pdf
- NHS Digital’s Guide to Confidentiality in Health & Social Care gives more information on the rules around information sharing :
The Information Commissioner’s Office is the Regulator for the Data Protection Act 1998 and offer independent advice and guidance on the law and personal data, including your rights and how to access your personal information. For further information please visit www.ico.gov.uk or contact The Information Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF. Phone: 0303 123 1113
Complaints or questions?
We try to meet the highest standards when collecting and using personal information. For this reason, we take any complaints we receive about this very seriously. We encourage people to bring concerns to our attention if they think that our collection or use of information is unfair, misleading or inappropriate. Please contact the Practice Manager.
Reviews of and Changes to our Privacy Notice
We will keep our Privacy Notice under regular review. Any changes to this notice will be published on our website and displayed in prominent notices in the surgery.