Information Governance – Keeping Your Information Confidential

How the Friarsgate Practice holds patient information in confidence

Healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses and therapists frequently collect information about their patients. This explains why information about you is collected and how it is used throughout the practice.

It also explains how you are able to access information about you.

What kind of information do healthcare organisations collect?

All healthcare professionals keep records of the care you receive from the National Health Service. These records are used to guide your current and future treatment. Your health records are unique to you and usually contain information such as:

  1. Your name, address, date of birth and your NHS Number.
  2. Correspondence between healthcare professionals relating to your care.
  3. Details of any treatment you have received from the practice.
  4. Results of tests and investigations.

How is this information stored?

Paper documentation is stored within a health records folder and kept in the Friarsgate Practice Records Library. Information is also kept on computer systems, these computers can only be accessed by a rigorous password systems

Why do healthcare organisations collect information from patients?

Your information is primarily collected to guide and administer the care you receive. Healthcare professionals use health records to assess your health and decide on the treatment you require. Your records are also used to arrange follow up or future treatment.

Your records may also be used:

  1. To monitor and review the quality of the care you receive, ensuring we provide care of the highest possible standard.
  2. To investigate complaints, legal claims and untoward incidents.
  3. To assess and plan NHS performance.
  4. For research, teaching and training healthcare professionals.

What about patient confidentiality?

Every member of NHS staff is obliged to keep patient information confidential and secure. This is a legal and professional obligation that The Friarsgate Practice takes very seriously. There must be a clear reason why a member of staff requires access to information, and information is only provided on a strictly “need-to-know” basis. The most common reason for using your information is in order to continue providing you with high quality care

You may also be receiving care from other organisations, such as Social Services. We may need to share information about you with these organisations. Any organisation that receives information from us is also under a legal duty to keep it confidential and secure. We will only give information about you to other organisations where there is a genuine need and we are sure it will be used under the safeguards we apply ourselves.

Are there any exceptions to this?

In some circumstances we are required by law to disclose information about you. For example, we are legally required to register births and deaths. Similarly, a court of law has the power to order us to disclose information.

How can I access my health records?

The Data Protection Act 1998 grants every living person the right to access his or her Health Records. You do not need to give a reason.

If you would like to access your health records please apply in writing to the following address:

The Friarsgate Practice, Stockbridge Road (corner of Stoney Lane), Weeke, Winchester, SO22 6EL

Tel: 01962 871730

We aim to provide access to health records within forty days.

Who can apply?

You can apply to see your own records, but can also apply:

  1. On behalf of your child, with your child’s consent. If your child is unable to understand you can see the records if you have parental responsibility.
  2. To see the records of a patient who has died, if you are acting as their personal representative, executor or are their named next of kin.
  3. On behalf of another person if you have been appointed by a court to manage the other person’s affairs.

Should you apply for access to records in the circumstances outlined above, you may be asked to provide documents proving you are acting on the patient’s behalf.

How much will it cost?

If you wish to come in to the practice to see your records we charge an administration charge of £10.

We are happy to provide patients with photocopies of their health records. The application process is exactly the same, but a copying fee will also apply. The copying fee depends on the number of photocopies you require but will not exceed £50.

Can I be refused access?

You can be refused access where:

  1. The record holder (The Friarsgate Practice) believes it may cause harm should you read your records.
  2. If by providing access we would reveal information that relates to or identifies another person (unless the other person has given consent).