Confidentiality is a cornerstone of health care and is 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 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 is 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 Partners as employers:-
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 – the health professionals and the 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 a professional, regulatory or defence body, in order to decide whether a disclosure without consent is justified to protect the patient or another person.
Complaints, Comments and Suggestions
We try to provide the best possible care for our patients. However, in the event that you are dissatisfied with our service, we would welcome the opportunity to investigate and put things right for you. Sometimes you may have an idea on how we could improve our service and we would be delighted if you would share this with us.
We operate an in-house complaints procedure to deal with any complaints or concerns, alternatively if you do not wish to come to us direct you may contact the NHS Commissioning Board, please see our leaflet for full details:
Your complaint should be addressed to our Practice Business Manager, Mrs Emily Spalding, telephone number 01730 264546, who will ensure that it is investigated thoroughly and as speedily as possible. We aim to report back to you within two weeks, although in some difficult cases, more time may be required and we will let you know if that is the case.
Alternatively, you can raise complaints about a GP, dentist, pharmacy, optician, or GP services (but not Out of Hours) with the NHS England: on 0300 311 2233 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) can manage complaints relating to provider organisation, such as Acute hospital, ambulance service or community service, and commissioning decision. Alternatively you can raise a complaint with the provider of the service directly. If you do wish the CCG to manage your complaint then please contact the CCG via the following email address SEHCCG.Complaints@nhs.net or FGCCG.Complaints@nhs.net. More details can also be found on the CCG website at www.southeasternhampshireccg.nhs.uk or www.farehamandgosportccg.nhs.uk as to what areas they deal with.
If you require help in raising a complaint then please contact Healthwatch Hampshire by telephone on 01962 440 262, or in writing to Freepost RTHH-KGST-ZRBC, Healthwatch Hampshire, Westgate Chambers, Staple Gardens, Winchester, SO32 8SR. You can also visit them online at www.healthwatchhampshire.co.uk.
You can also obtain advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB). Their service is free and independent of the NHS.
If you still remain dissatisfied following an investigation you do have the right to take your complaint to the Health Service Ombudsman and they can be contact by telephone on 0345 015 4033. See www.ombudsman.org.uk for more information.
Patient Advice and Liason Service (PALS)
The NHS employs over a million staff in thousands of locations. It is a large and complex organisation providing a broad range of services. It is not surprising that sometimes you or a loved one may feel bewildered or concerned when using the NHS. And this can be at times when you are feeling at your most vulnerable and anxious.
So, what should you do if you want on the spot help when using the health service? The NHS expects all members of staff to listen and respond to you to the best of their ability. But sometimes, you may wish to talk to someone employed especially to help you. The Patient Advice and Liaison Service, known as PALS, has been introduced to ensure that the NHS listens to patients, their relatives, carers and friends, and answers their questions and resolves their concerns as quickly as possible.
PALS also helps the NHS to improve services by listening to what matters to patients and their loved ones and making changes, when appropriate.
What does PALS do?
In particular, PALS will:
- Provide you with information about the NHS and help you with any other health-related enquiry
- Help resolve concerns or problems when you are using the NHS
- Provide information about the NHS complaints procedure and how to get independent help if you decide you may want to make a complaint
- Provide you with information and help introduce you to agencies and support groups outside the NHS
- Inform you about how you can get more involved in your own healthcare and the NHS locally
- Improve the NHS by listening to your concerns, suggestions and experiences and ensuring that people who design and manage services are aware of the issues you raise
- Provide an early warning system for NHS Trusts and monitoring bodies by identifying problems or gaps in services and reporting them.
Hampshire Health Records
The Care and Health Information Exchange (CHIE)
This is a secure system which shares health and social care information from GP surgeries, hospitals, community and mental health, social services and others.
CHIE helps professionals across Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and surrounding areas provide safer and faster treatment for you and your family by:
- Ensuring that you only have to tell your story once.
- Reducing delays to your treatment. For example, by reducing the need to repeat blood tests
- Making sure the doctors, nurses and others involved in your care know about your medical history
- Identifying diseases that you might be at increased risk of developing in the future. This can help you take action early to protect your health
To protect your privacy and confidentiality, only health and social care professionals who are involved in your care are allowed access to your record and can identify you from it.
If you do not want to have your information shared please advise the surgery in writing and we can ensure a code is applied to your medical records.
More information on CHIE can be read here www.chie.org.uk
Summary Care Record
The National Summary Care Record is an electronic record which will give healthcare staff in England faster and easier access to essential information about you, to help provide you with safe treatment when you need care in an emergency or when your GP practice is closed. For full information including an ‘Opt out’ form please see below:
Information about you and the care you receive is shared, in a secure system, by healthcare staff to support your treatment and care. For Care Data FAQs please see below:
Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act was passed on 30 November 2000. It gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities, with full access granted in January 2005. The Act sets out exemptions to that right and places certain obligations on public authorities.
FOI replaced the Open Government Code of practice, which has been in operation since 1994.
Data Protection and FOI – how do the two interact?
The Data Protection Act 1998 came into force on 1 March 2000. It provides living individuals with a right of access to personal information held about them. The right applies to all information held in computerised form and also to non-computerised information held in filing systems structured so that specific information about particular individuals can retrieved readily.
Individuals already have the right to access information about themselves (personal data), which is held on computer and in some paper files under the Data Protection Act 1998.
The right also applies to those archives that meet these criteria. However, the right is subject to exemptions, which will affect whether information is provided. Requests will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
The Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act are the responsibility of the Lord Chancellor’s Department. A few of its strategic objectives being:
- To improve people’s knowledge and understanding of their rights and responsibilities
- Seeking to encourage an increase in openness in the public sector
- Monitoring the Code of practice on Access to Government Information
- Developing a data protection policy which properly balances personal information privacy with the need for public and private organisations to process personal information
The Data Protection Act does not give third parties rights of access to personal information for research purposes.
The FOI Act does not give individuals access to their personal information, though if a request is made, the Data Protection Act gives the individual this right. If the individual chooses to make this information public it could be used alongside non-personal information gained by the public under the terms of the FOI Act.
Our staff come to work to care for others, and it is important for all members of the public and our staff to be treated with courtesy and respect.
The practice considers aggressive behaviour to be any personal, abusive and/or aggressive comments, cursing and/or swearing, physical contact and/or aggressive gestures and the damaging of property.
In line with the rest of the NHS and to ensure this is fully observed, we have a Zero Tolerance policy. This means that aggressive or violent behaviour towards our staff or any member of the public within our Practice premises will not be tolerated under any circumstances.
Anyone giving verbal abuse to members of staff, either in person or over the telephone, will be sent a letter from the Practice Manager advising that this behaviour will not be tolerated. Any future violation of this policy will result in the removal from the Practice patient list. There will be no appeal process.
We feel sure that you will understand that proper behaviour is absolutely necessary for our staff and patients and that non-observance will not be accepted.
Do you have any communication or information needs relating to a disability, impairment or sensory loss? Swan Surgery can provide various ways in which to make information accessible to you and for you to communicate with us:
Swan Surgery Vision Statement
• We are a dedicated team of health professionals who are responsive to our patients’ needs
• We have a commitment to providing the highest quality of care in a safe, happy and caring environment
• We treat our patients with kindness and courtesy and respect their individuality and confidentiality
• We seek to be at the forefront of well-considered innovation to deliver improved health outcomes in the most effective way for patients
• We believe in preventative medicine and encourage patients to take a pro-active responsibility for their health