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Freedom of Information

Protecting And Using Your Medical Information

All the information you give to a member of the Primary Health Care Team (eg doctor, practice/district nurse, health visitor) which is held either on paper records or computer is safeguarded by the Data Protection Act 1988. This Act sets clear rules about how the recorded information can be used and demands openness about how the information is used. It also gives you certain rights, eg you have the right of access to your health records.

At all times, everybody working for the National Health Service - ie all the members of the Primary Health Care Team - has a legal duty to keep information about you confidential.

Why Do We Need Information About You?

We have to ask you for information so that we can make a decision about the best care and treatment for your needs. This information is often kept on paper record or on computer because we might need it when we see you again.

What Else Do We Do With This Information?

Some general practitioners receive payments for services they provide, like contraception services, certain vaccinations and cervical screening. The doctor has to notify the Primary Care Trust about which patient has had which service.

Your general practitioner might need to ask the Primary Care Trust to fund certain elements of your care and for this we may need to give the Primary Care Trust details of your personal and clinical records.

The general practitioner needs to notify the Primary Care Trust when you first register and your entire health record will be sent to the Primary Care Trust when you change your GP. The Primary Care Trust will then pass these records over to your new GP.

If you need to be referred to a specialist (eg consultant) or need assistance in your treatment or management (eg require a wheelchair, need help from social services, counselling etc), relevant information about you will be passed on so we can all work together for your benefit.

However, we will only pass on information to people who really need to know and have a genuine interest and we also will only pass on as much information as is necessary.

The law demands that details of patients with certain infectious diseases have to be passed on to the Primary Care Trust so action can be taken to protect the public’s health. You can receive a list of all notifiable diseases from the Primary Care Trust. The law demands that information is passed on if a serious crime can be prevented.

The law courts can also insist that doctors disclose medical records by issuing a court order. When we are asked for medical records from solicitors, we will provide them with your full medical record only if you provide signed consent. Similarly, any information we are asked to provide to life assurance companies is only given when we have received your signed consent to do so.

Information about you may also be needed to review the care you receive to make sure it is of the highest standard. It is used for managing and planning of the NHS, so that services can meet patient needs in the future, accounts can be audited and the NHS performance and activity analysed.

You can choose whether or not to be involved in the training and education of staff or students and if you want to participate in research projects.

Anyone to whom information about you is passed by a member of this practice is also under a legal duty to keep it confidential.

Without your authorisation we cannot pass on information about the progress of your health to your relatives, friends and carers.

Everyone working in this practice and for the NHS has a legal duty to keep information about you confidential.

Sometimes we have to pass your information on, but anyone who receives this information is also under a legal duty to keep this information confidential. If you want to know more about your rights and our legal duties in handling confidential information, please ask for a leaflet about confidentiality at the reception desk.

Freedom Of Information – Publication Scheme

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 obliges the practice to produce a Publication Scheme. A Publication Scheme is a guide to the ‘classes’ of information the practice intends to routinely make available. This scheme is available from reception.​