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 Whinfield Medical Practice
national health service

Whinfield Medical Practice

Whinbush Way
Darlington
County Durham
DL1 3RT
Tel: 01325 481321
Confidentiality and Data Protection

CONFIDENTIALITY POLICY
Confidentiality is the cornerstone of health care and central to the work of everyone working in general practice. All information about patients is confidential: from the most sensitive diagnosis, to the fact of having visited the surgery or being registered at the practice.
The duty of confidentiality owed to a person under 16 is as great as the duty owed to any other person.
All patients can expect that their personal information will not be disclosed without their permission except in the most exceptional of circumstances, when somebody is at grave risk of serious harm.

Responsibilities of practice staff

All health professionals must follow their professional codes of practice and the law. This means that they must make every effort to protect confidentiality. It also means that no identifiable information about a patient is passed to anyone or any agency without the express permission of that patient, except when this is essential for providing care or necessary to protect somebody's health, safety or well being.
All health professionals are individually accountable for their own actions. They should also work together as a team to ensure that standards of confidentiality are upheld and that improper disclosures are avoided.

Additionally, the GP as employer:
  • is responsible for ensuring that everybody employed by the practice understands the need for. and maintains, confidentiality;
  • has overall responsibility for ensuring that systems and mechanisms to protect confidentiality.are in place;
  • has vicarious liability for the actions of those working in the practice -including the health professionals and non-clinical staff.
Standards of confidentiality apply to all health professionals, administrative and ancillary staff - including receptionists, secretaries, practice managers, cleaners and maintenance staff who are bound by contracts of employment to maintain confidentiality -and also to students or others observing practice. They must not reveal to anybody outside the practice, personal information they learn in the course of their work, or due to their presence in the surgery, without the patient's consent. Nor will they discuss with colleagues any aspect of a patient's attendance at the surgery in a way that might allow identification of the patient, unless to do so is necessary for that patient's care.

If disclosure is necessary
If a patient or another person is at grave risk of serious harm which disclosure to an appropriate person would prevent, the relevant health professional will counsel the patient about the benefits of disclosure. If the patient refuses to allow disclosure, the health professional can take advice from colleagues within the practice, or from a professional, regulatory or defence body, in order to decide whether a disclosure without consent is justified to protect the patient or another person. If a decision is taken to disclose, the patient should always be informed before the disclosure is made, unless to do so could be dangerous. If at all possible, any such decisions should be shared with another member of the practice team.
Any decision to disclose information to protect health, safety or well being will be based on the degree of current or potential harm, not on the age of the patient.
All staff have to sign a document which legally binds them to abide by the above agreement.

Patient Information - Data Protection act 1998


The practice holds a great deal of information about patients on the computer. We are registered with Data Protection and comply fully with all the regulations laid down in the Act. Information will only be released with the written consent of the patient or parent/guardian of the patient. All staff and doctors are bound by the confidentiality clauses within the Act.

Link to information on the Act.

 

Covid-19 and your information

Updated on 8th April 2020

Supplementary privacy note on Covid-19 for Patients/Service Users

This notice describes how we may use your information to protect you and others during the Covid-19 outbreak. It supplements our main Privacy Notice which is available on this website.

The health and social care system is facing significant pressures due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Health and care information is essential to deliver care to individuals, to support health and social care services and to protect public health. Information will also be vital in researching, monitoring, tracking and managing the outbreak. In the current emergency it has become even more important to share health and care information across relevant organisations.

Existing law which allows confidential patient information to be used and shared appropriately and lawfully in a public health emergency is being used during this outbreak. Using this law the Secretary of State has required NHS Digital; NHS England and Improvement; Arms Length Bodies (such as Public Health England); local authorities; health organisations and GPs to share confidential patient information to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak. Any information used or shared during the Covid-19 outbreak will be limited to the period of the outbreak unless there is another legal basis to use the data. Further information is available on gov.uk.

During this period of emergency, opt-outs will not generally apply to the data used to support the Covid-19 outbreak, due to the public interest in sharing information. This includes National Data Opt-outs. However in relation to the Summary Care Record, existing choices will be respected. Where data is used and shared under these laws your right to have personal data erased will also not apply. It may also take us longer to respond to Subject Access requests, Freedom of Information requests and new opt-out requests whilst we focus our efforts on responding to the outbreak.

 

In order to look after your health and care needs we may share your confidential patient information including health and care records with clinical and non clinical staff in other health and care providers, for example neighbouring GP practices, hospitals and NHS 111. We may also use the details we have to send public health messages to you, either by phone, text or email.

 

During this period of emergency we may offer you a consultation via telephone or video-conferencing. By accepting the invitation and entering the consultation you are consenting to this. Your personal/confidential patient information will be safeguarded in the same way it would with any other consultation.

 

We will also be required to share personal/confidential patient information with health and care organisations and other bodies engaged in disease surveillance for the purposes of

protecting public health, providing healthcare services to the public and monitoring and

managing the outbreak. Further information about how health and care data is being used and shared by other NHS and social care organisations in a variety of ways to support the Covid-19 response is available on our website.

 

NHS England and Improvement and NHSX have developed a single, secure store to gather data from across the health and care system to inform the Covid-19 response. This includes data already collected by NHS England, NHS Improvement, Public Health England and NHS Digital. New data will include 999 call data, data about hospital occupancy and A&E capacity data as well as data provided by patients themselves. All the data held in the platform is subject to strict controls that meet the requirements of data protection legislation.

 

In such circumstances where you tell us you’re experiencing Covid-19 symptoms we may need to collect specific health data about you. Where we need to do so, we will not collect more information than we require and we will ensure that any information collected is treated with the appropriate safeguards.

 

We may amend this privacy notice at any time so please review it frequently. The date at the top of this page will be amended each time this notice is updated.



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