How we handle your personal information
COVID-19 and your information – Updated on 8th April 2020
Supplementary privacy notice on Covid-19 for Patients
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 here.
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 here and some FAQs on this law are available here.
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 (SARs), Freedom of Information requests (FOIs) 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 included 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 message 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 here.
NHS England and Improvement and the NHSX have developed a single, secure store to gather data from across the health and care system to information 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 patient 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.
General Practice Transparency Notice for GPES Data for Pandemic Planning and Research (COVID-19)
This practice is supporting vital coronavirus (COVID-19) planning and research by sharing your data with NHS Digital.
The health and social care system is facing significant pressures due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Health and care information is essential to deliver care to individuals, to support health, social care and other public services and to protect public health. Information will also be vital in researching, monitoring, tracking and managing the coronavirus outbreak. In the current emergency it has become even more important to share health and care information across relevant organisations. This practice is supporting vital coronavirus planning and research by sharing your data with NHS Digital, the national safe haven for health and social care data in England.
Our legal basis for sharing data with NHS Digital
NHS Digital has been legally directed to collect and analyse patient data from all GP practices in England to support the coronavirus response for the duration of the outbreak. NHS Digital will become the controller under the General Data Protection Regulation 2016 (GDPR) of the personal data collected and analysed jointly with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who has directed NHS Digital to collect and analyse this data under the COVID-19 Public Health Directions 2020 (COVID-19 Direction).
All GP practices in England are legally required to share data with NHS Digital for this purpose under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (2012 Act). More information about this requirement is contained in the data provision notice issued by NHS Digital to GP practices.
Under GDPR our legal basis for sharing this personal data with NHS Digital is Article 6(1)(c) – legal obligation. Our legal basis for sharing personal data relating to health, is Article 9(2)(g) – substantial public interest, for the purposes of NHS Digital exercising its statutory functions under the COVID-19 Direction.
The type of personal data we are sharing with NHS Digital
The data being shared with NHS Digital will include information about patients who are currently registered with a GP practice or who have a date of death on or after 1 November 2019 whose record contains coded information relevant to coronavirus planning and research. The data contains NHS Number, postcode, address, surname, forename, sex, ethnicity, date of birth and date of death for those patients. It will also include coded health data which is held in your GP record such as details of:
- diagnoses and findings
- medications and other prescribed items
- investigations, tests and results
- treatments and outcomes
- vaccinations and immunisations
How NHS Digital will use and share your data
NHS Digital will analyse the data they collect and securely and lawfully share data with other appropriate organisations, including health and care organisations, bodies engaged in disease surveillance and research organisations for coronavirus response purposes only. These purposes include protecting public health, planning and providing health, social care and public services, identifying coronavirus trends and risks to public health, monitoring and managing the outbreak and carrying out of vital coronavirus research and clinical trials. The British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the National Data Guardian are all supportive of this initiative.
NHS Digital has various legal powers to share data for purposes relating to the coronavirus response. It is also required to share data in certain circumstances set out in the COVID-19 Direction and to share confidential patient information to support the response under a legal notice issued to it by the Secretary of State under the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 (COPI Regulations).
Legal notices under the COPI Regulations have also been issued to other health and social care organisations requiring those organisations to process and share confidential patient information to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. Any information used or shared during the outbreak under these legal notices or the COPI Regulations will be limited to the period of the outbreak unless there is another legal basis for organisations to continue to use the information.
Data which is shared by NHS Digital will be subject to robust rules relating to privacy, security and confidentiality and only the minimum amount of data necessary to achieve the coronavirus purpose will be shared. Organisations using your data will also need to have a clear legal basis to do so and will enter into a data sharing agreement with NHS Digital. Information about the data that NHS Digital shares, including who with and for what purpose will be published in the NHS Digital data release register.
For more information about how NHS Digital will use your data please see the NHS Digital Transparency Notice for GP Data for Pandemic Planning and Research (COVID-19).
National Data Opt-Out
The application of the National Data Opt-Out to information shared by NHS Digital will be considered on a case by case basis and may or may not apply depending on the specific purposes for which the data is to be used. This is because during this period of emergency, the National Data Opt-Out will not generally apply where data is used to support the coronavirus outbreak, due to the public interest and legal requirements to share information.
Your rights over your personal data
To read more about the health and care information NHS Digital collects, its legal basis for collecting this information and what choices and rights you have in relation to the processing by NHS Digital of your personal data, see:
- the NHS Digital GPES Data for Pandemic Planning and Research (COVID-19) Transparency Notice
- the NHS Digital Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Transparency Notice
- the NHS Digital General Transparency Notice
- how NHS Digital looks after your health and care information
When you visit the surgery we want you to feel able to discuss anything with your doctor that might relate to your health. This may include sexual matters, your relationships, drugs, drinking, your mental health, your job etc. You need to feel that anything you inform us of will remain absolutely confidential.
The General Medical Council, whose rules on confidentiality apply to all doctors in the UK, enforces our duty of confidentiality to all patients. The practice is also registered under the Data Protection Act 1998.
We take great care to ensure that no information you give us is passed on either inadvertently or through the deception of others. This would include other family members unless we have your written consent.
Why we collect information about you?
In the National Health Service we aim to provide you with the highest quality of health care. To do this we must keep records about you, your health and the care we have provided or plan to provide to you.
The NHS in England uses patient information for different purposes and the main two are:
a: To provide direct care – To provide patients with the personal care and treatment they need.
b: For purposes beyond direct care – Where patients’ information is used alongside other patients’ information in statistics and research and analysis. This information is typically used to check that health and social care services are doing a good job; to provide the right services at the right time; and to support researchers in the development of new medicines and treatments.
Practice Fair Processing/Privacy Notice – Updated Oct 2020
Please click here to view our Full Notice:
Legal basis for processing information: Legal Basis – Oct 2020
How your information might be used
Sharing information for your direct care
Doctors do not discuss their patients with reception staff, but staff may type letters, file incoming hospital post and results and carry out a host of other administrative tasks on behalf of your doctor. They are not allowed to access your notes for any other purpose. All our staff are highly trustworthy and professional in their attitude to the responsibility that patient confidentiality places on them. The practice can audit access to records to ensure records are not accessed inappropriately.
Summary Care Record
Summary Care Record (SCR) is an electronic record that gives healthcare staff faster, easier access to essential information about you anywhere in the country, so that you can be given safe treatment during an emergency or when your GP surgery is closed.
You can opt out if you do not want your information to be used in this way. Read more about SCR here.
Sharing information for purposes beyond your direct care
Risk stratification is an example of where your information may be used for your direct care or for purposes beyond your direct care.
Risk stratification is a process of identifying patients or groups of patients that are most likely to get a certain disease so that the right services can be provided to an individual or a population in general.
For example, “these patients are most likely to get diabetes in my GP practice, so I’m going to provide this care plan to those individuals” or “this number of patients is at risk of diabetes in this CCG, so I’m going to commission this service”.
Information to the Health Authority and other health organisations
Some information is sent electronically to the other parts of the NHS for administration and payment purposes. This can be statistical information that does not identify individuals or may include some personal details such as changes of address etc. in order to keep the practice list up to date. All NHS staff are bound by the same rules on data protection and confidentiality.
The practice is also requested by the NHS and Medical Research Council (MRC) to provide data for the clinical audit or research of certain diseases and conditions. This information will either be anonymous, so individuals cannot be identified or you will be asked for consent. You may be contacted to ask if you’re happy for your information to be used in this way. Your identifiable information will only be shared in this way where you have given your explicit consent.
Prescribing information is also requested to help compile statistics on how diseases are treated and the costs involved in treating some illnesses. All such information is anonymous; individual patients will not be recognisable from this information.
Patient access to records
Request for access to health records
You have the right to see your own medical record, both hand written and entered onto the computer. Please complete the attached form: Request for Access to Health Records ( currently form to be attached) and return it to the surgery. It may be beneficial to contact the surgery to discuss this prior to requesting your notes. This can be done via our contact form.
Reports for other people
Sometimes you may need a report prepared by your doctor for someone else who is not involved in your care. This may be your employer, an insurance company or your solicitor. We will never release any information to any other party without your written consent. You have the right to see these reports before they are sent off. If you have any worries we recommend you ask to check them at the time.
What is Patient Online?
Patient Online allows you to access GP services from your computer, tablet or mobile phone, as well as through your local GP practice to:
• Book GP appointments online
• View a summary of your health records online
• Renew prescriptions online
How will Patient Online help me?
Online services will allow you to book and cancel appointments or request repeat prescriptions at a time that is convenient to you – day or night. It will help you to take greater control of your health and wellbeing by increasing online access to services. Evidence shows that patients who are informed and involved in their own care have better health outcomes and are less likely to be admitted to hospital.
How can I get access to my GP Record?
You will need to fill in a short form and bring proof of your identity into the GP surgery so that we can provide you with logon details and with a password.
At Warwick House Medical Practice we currently offer the online services below:
1. Booking appointments
2. Repeat prescriptions
3. Access to GP records (currently summary information only)
All persons who can access your record on computer are given a unique password. Different grades of staff have different levels of access. Staff should only have access to those parts of the computer record that they need to do their job. An audit trail of who has used the computer is kept within the computer system with every login recorded and identified by the user’s password. All computers have anti-virus software loaded, which is regularly updated to protect your medical record.
If you any questions about how the information on your medical record is used please contact us via the ‘how to contact us’ button on our home page.