All patient information is considered to be confidential and we comply fully with the Data Protection Act 1998 and Caldicott principles. All employees in the practice have access to this information in relation to their role, have confidentiality clauses in their contracts of employment and have signed a confidentiality agreement. All staff members adhere to the Confidentiality: NHS Code of Practice 2003.
Where appropriate, patient information may be shared with other parties within the care team. However, they must be involved in the direct care of patients, based on implied consent. This will be on a “need to know” basis only and in order to ensure the safe, effective care of patients. Where a patient wishes information not to be shared within the team providing direct care, then they must discuss this with their GP.
Patient information will not be shared outside of the direct care team without consent being sought. An individual has the right to refuse to have their information disclosed, although this may have an impact on their care, and their wishes will be complied with.
It is imperative that when it is right to release details to 3rd parties that the information only includes what has been asked for and not necessarily the full record.
There are currently two national data extractions from which patients may wish to “opt out”:
1. Summary Care Record
The SCR enables healthcare staff providing care for patients in an emergency and from anywhere in England to be made aware of any current medications or allergies the patient may suffer from. This information from every patient record is sent electronically up to the Spine in order for this to happen. If patients wish their information to be withheld from the SCR, they can “opt out”. Please ask at reception for the SCR Opt Out Form or download one at: systems.hscic.gov.uk/scr/library/optout.pdf
2. Care.data programme
In order to improve health services, NHS England has commissioned a modern data service from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) known as the “care.data programme” The aim of the service is to create a complete picture of care provided to patients by social care, GP practices and hospitals, and it will make use of patient information extracted from GP medical records.
Once this information has been linked to the data taken from hospitals, a new record will be created. This new record will not contain information that identifies you. The type of information that is then shared, and how it is shared, is controlled by law and strict confidentiality rules.
If you wish to “opt out” and prevent an extraction of information from your record being taken please ask for further information at reception.
At present, the proposed national roll-out of the care data program has been postponed and, rather than an immediate national roll-out, the HSCIC will be working with a number of “Pathfinder GP practices” that will test, evaluate and refine all aspects of the data collection process before it is applied nationally.