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CONFIDENTIALITY

As a patient it is your right, with certain exceptions, to have all information regarding your health, whether on paper or on the computer, remain confidential - and to this end, all staff are required to sign a statement of confidentiality to ensure that the highest possible standards of confidentiality are maintained.

When you register with your new practice certain details, such as name, address and date of birth are passed to the Health Authority and to the NHS Central Register. This enables your medical record to be located and passed to your new practice. Although the Health Authority database holds information on childhood vaccinations and immunisations and cervical cytology, no other clinical information is held there or at the Central Register.

It is possible, however, that it may be necessary to share some information regarding your medical history with other health-care professionals such as hospital consultants, to ensure you receive appropriate treatment. In addition there are certain statutory requirements that require a practice to pass on information to the authorities, for example: notification of birth or death, infectious diseases, gunshot wounds.

In other cases, such as releasing medical records to solicitors when dealing with complaints or legal claims, information is only released with your written authority to do so.

As of 25 May 2018 a new law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will apply even after the UK leaves the EU.  GDPR determines how your personal data is processed and kept safe, and the legal rights that you have in relation to your own data.

What GDPR will mean for patients

The GDPR sets out the key principles about processing personal data, for staff or patients;

  • Data must be processed lawfully, fairly and transparently
  • It must be collected for specific, explicit and legitimate purposes
  • It must be limited to what is necessary for the purposes for which it is processed
  • Information must be accurate and kept up to date
  • Data must be held securely
  • It can only be retained for as long as is necessary for the reasons it was collected

There are also stronger rights for patients regarding the information that practices hold about them.  These include;

  • Being informed about how their data is used
  • Patients to have access to their own data
  • Patients can ask to have incorrect information changed
  • Restrict how their data is used
  • Move their patient data from one health organisation to another
  • The right to object to their patient information being processed (in certain circumstances)

For further information please see our more detailed information sheet click here or ask to speak to the Practice Manager.

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