The practice wants to ensure the highest standard of medical care for our patients. We understand that a General Practice is a trusted community governed by an ethic of privacy and confidentiality. Our practices are consistent with the Medical Council guidelines and the GDPR and Data Protections Acts. We see our patients consent as being the key factor in dealing with your health information. This leaflet is about making consent meaningful by advising you of our policies and practices on dealing with your information.
In order to provide for your care we need to collect and keep information about you and your health on our records.
We retain your information securely.
We will only ask and keep information that is necessary. We will attempt to keep it as accurate as possible. We will explain the need for the information we ask for and if you are unsure why it is needed ask.
We ask that you inform us about any changes in your treatment that we may not know about. Please also inform us of any change of address and phone numbers. We may routinely double check to ensure your details are up to date.
All persons in the practice (not already covered by professional code) sign a confidentiality agreement that explicitly makes clear their duties in relation to personal health information and the consequences of breaching that duty.
Access to patient records is regulated to ensure that they are used only to the extent necessary to enable the staff to perform their tasks in the running of the practice. In this regard patients should understand that the staff access their records for:
• Identifying and printing repeat prescriptions
• Generating social welfare certificates.
• Typing referral letters to hospital consultants, allied health professionals.
• Opening letter from hospitals etc which are then scanned to the patient’s chart.
• Scanning clinical letters, reports and any other documents that are not in electronic format.
• Downloading lab results and out of hours reports and integrating into patient record.
• Photocopying or printing documents for referral or if patient is changing GP
• Checking if report or letter is back from specialist to schedule conversation with GP.
• When a patient contacts the practice checking if they are due for preventative services, vaccination, smears etc.
• Handling the printing, photocopying and postage of medicolegal documents and life assurance reports.
We may need to pass some of this information to other health and social care professionals in order to provide you with the treatment that you need. Only the relevant part of your record will be released. These other professionals are legally bound to treat your information with the same duty of care and confidentiality as we do.
DISCLOSURES UNDER LAW
The law provides that in certain instances personal information including health can be disclosed for example in cases of infectious diseases.
Disclosure of information to Employers, Insurance Companies and solicitors.
In general work related medical certificates from your GP will only provide a confirmation that you are unfit for work with an indication of when you will be fit to resume. Social Welfare Certificates of incapacity for work must include the medical reason you are unfit.
In the case of disclosures to insurance companies or solicitors we will only release the information with your signed request.
USE OF INFORMATION
It is usual for GPs to discuss patient case histories as part of their continuing medical education or for training GPs/ medical students. In these situations, the identity of the patient will not be revealed.
Our practice is involved in the training of GPs from the GP training scheme. As part of the programme GP Registrars work in the practice and may be involved in your care.
It is usual for patient information to be used for Audit and quality assurance to improve services and standards within the practice.
Information for such purposes is done in an anonymous manner and any personal information is removed. If it was proposed to use your information that would not be anonymous we would seek your written consent.
You have the right to access to all the personal information held about you in the practice. If you wish to see your records it is quickest to discuss with your doctor. You can make a formal written request for a copy of your records and this will be provided to you within 1 month.
TRANSFERRING TO ANOTHER PRACTICE
If you decide to transfer to another practice, we will facilitate your move by making available to your new doctor a copy of your records on receipt of your signed consent from your new doctor. For medicolegal reasons we also retain a copy of your records in the practice for an appropriate period of time, which may exceed 8 years.
If you have any questions, please speak to the secretary or your doctor.