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Patient communications

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new law that determines how your personal data is processed and kept safe, and the legal rights that you have in relation to your own data.

The regulation applies from 25th May 2018, and will apply ever after the UK leaves the EU.

What GDPR will mean for patients

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

  • Data mist 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 resins 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)

What is GDPR?

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulations and is a new piece of legislation that will supersede the Data Protection Act.  It will not only apply to the UK and EU; it covers anywhere in the world in which data about EU citizens is processed.

The GDPR is similar to the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998 (which the practice already complies with) but strengthens many of the DPA’s principles.  The main changes are:

  • Practices must comply with subject access requests
  • Where we need your consent to process data, this consent must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous
  • There are new special protections for patient data
  • The Information Commissioner’s Office must be notified within 72 hours of a data breach
  • Higher fines for data breaches – up to 20 million euros

What is ‘patient data’?

Patient data is information that relates to a single person, such as his/her diagnosis, name, age, earlier medical history etc.

What is consent?

Consent is permission from a patient - an individual’s consent is defined as “any freely given specific and informed indication of his wishes by which the data subject signifies his agreement to personal data relating to him being processed.

The changes in GDPR mean that we must get explicit permission from patients when using their data. This is to protect your right to privacy, and we may ask you to provide consent to do certain things, like contact you or record certain information about you for your clinical records.

Individuals also have the right to withdraw their consent at any time.

Scan this code with your mobile for more on GDPR

Scan the code with your mobile for more on GDPR

Contact us

Heath Lane Surgery, Heath Lane, Earl Shilton, LE9 7PB

Person to contact regarding Data Protection matters:

Leah Hart, Business/Practice Manager

Telephone: 01455 844431 

Email: heathlane.surgery@nhs.net


Making a Subject Access Request (SAR)

Introduction

The Data Protection Act gives every living person (or authorised representative) the right to apply for access to their health records.

Online Access to Medical Records

As of March 2016, [Coded information from Medical Records / Full Medical Records] can be accessed as part of the Practice’s online services. For security reasons, you will have to visit the practice to undertake an identity check before you are granted access to these records.

To make a subject access request

A request for your medical health records held at Heath Lane Surgery must be made in writing (e-mails accepted) to the Administration Team (please contact the practice for alternative methods of access if you are unable to make a request in writing).

You can apply using an Application for Access to Medical Records Form available from reception or online if you wish.

Costs

Under the Data Protection Act you will not normally be charged a fee to view your health records or to be provided with a copy of them unless the request is judged to be unfounded or excessive.

In the event that a request is deemed to be unfounded or excessive, a fee will be incurred based on the administrative cost of providing the information.             

Once the data controller has all the required information, and fee where relevant, your request should be fulfilled within one month (in exceptional circumstances where it is not possible to comply within this period, you will be informed of the delay within one month of the request. We will provide you with a timescale of when the information will be made available, which will be no more than three months after the request was made).

Exemptions

In some circumstances, the Act permits the data controller to withhold information held in your health record. These rare cases are:

  •  Where it has been judged that supplying you with the information is likely to cause serious harm to the physical or mental health or condition of you, or any other person, or;
  •  Where providing you with access would disclose information relating to or provided by a third person who had not consented to the disclosure. This exemption does not apply where that third person is a clinician involved in your care.

When making your request for access, it would be helpful if you could provide details of the time-periods and aspects of your health record you require (this is optional, but it may help save practice time and resources).

If you are using an authorised representative, you need to be aware that in doing so, they may gain access to all health records concerning you, which may not all be relevant. If this is a concern, you should inform your representative of what information you wish them to specifically request when they are applying for access.

GPs have ethical obligations around how patient records are shared, and will explain to patients, in broad terms, the implications of making a Subject Access Request so they can make an informed decision on whether they wish to exercise their rights under the Data Protection Act.

Send the application to:

Leah Hart – Practice Manager

Heath Lane Surgery, Heath Lane,

Earl Shilton, Leicestershire, LE9 7PB.


Improving communication with patients

All staff working in the NHS have a legal duty to keep your medical records confidential in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.  Therefore, staff are unable to disclose any medical information to a third party regarding a patient over the age of 16 without their prior permission. This may seem unfair to you as the person who possibly arranges and drives them to all their appointments.  However, under no circumstances can staff assume that consent to release medical information, test results or any appointment information has been given without written authorisation from the patient. 

Staff are not trying to be difficult or obstructive, rather trying to protect each patients' confidentiality. 

If you would benefit from a third party input/someone else who looks after you (i.e. a family member or a carer) being able to liaise on your behalf, please can you inform the practice in writing.  We will then ensure this request is made available in your medical records and we can then liaise with your nominated person as requested.

You may find our Frequently Asked Questions leaflet useful please use the link provided to download a copy.

Frequently Asked Questions


Text Messages

If you provide the surgery with your mobile telephone number we will imply that you consent to receiving text messages for appointment reminders and health campaigns.  Should you wish to opt out of receiving these messages you can text back to the surgery the word “STOP” to 07800 000 199.  By doing this you will no longer receive messages from the surgery including appointment reminders.


Screen TV images in the second waiting room

Live images are transmitted of the second waiting room viewed in the reception back office.  The images are viewed to enhance patient and staff safety.


Complaints

These can be made over the telephone, in person or in writing and addressed to the Practice Manager, Leah Hart.

Where the complaint is by a third party and the complaint or enquiry is related to someone else, the written consent of the Data Subject is required. Where this is not possible full justification must be given.

All complaints will be acknowledged within 14 days and a response provided within 21 days.


Practice Privacy Notice

Privacy Notice for Practice Website



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