Patient confidentiality

Maintaining patient confidentaility is a key requirement for doctors, nurses and all healthcare staff. We respect your right to privacy and keep all your health information confidential and secure. Sometimes it can be difficult to explain why we cannot disclose messages or test results or even that a patient has been to the surgery to husband, wife, partner or parent. Some people get annoyed and even rude believing we are being deliberatley bureaucratic. We can assure you that this is not the case, we simply cannot discuss or disclose personal medical matters to anyone except yourself unless we have your specific consent in writing. If you do wish us to share information, please state with whom and this can be noted on your medical records. You can download the leaflet by clicking here.

If you are aged under 16 medical practice staff will not normally divulge any confidential information about you to others, including parents, other family members, care workers or your tutors without your permission. The only reason why we might have to consider passing information without permission is to protect you or someone else from serious harm. We would always try to discuss this with you before making any decisions.

How is your patient information held and used? Our GPs and nurses work as part of a Primary Healthcare Team and it is essential that they all have access to certain details about patients. Your records are held on a secure NHS computer system, the hardware is owned and managed by local NHS IT engineers and the software is supplied by SystmOne (one of the largest GP software system suppliers in the UK). The information held includes:-

  • where you live and how to contact you
  • your ethnicity
  • your illnesses
  • your allergies
  • your medication
  • your immunisations
  • measurements and diagnostic test results
  • a summary of each consultation
  • scanned copies of correspondence, including from hospitals and other healthcare providers
  • notification of your encounters with the out of hours service
  • If you are a carer or are cared for

In addition to managing individual care the data is used to manage public health and measure and compare the local prevalence of diseases against national averages. Statistics help us know how the NHS is functioning with regards to issues such as waiting lists, medicines used, numbers of appointments and patients seen etc.

The databases and information held locally are subject to very high standards of security. All GPs, nurses and staff are governed by strict codes of confidentiality (see page 13). Dr Nicholas D’Arcy is the practice “Caldicott Guardian” with overall responsibilty for data security. Sonia Cartwright is the IT Privacy Officer.

Sharing NHS Patient Information: We have a leaflet explaining how confidential NHS data is shared and giving patients choices if they are concerned about this.