Portrush Medical Centre aims to ensure the highest standard of medical care for our patients. To do this we keep records about you, your health and the care we have provided or plan to provide to you.
This privacy notice does not provide exhaustive details of all aspects of the collection and use of personal information by the medical centre. However, we are happy to provide any additional information or explanation needed. If you wish to request further information please contact our Practice Manager on 028 7082 9558.
Managing 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 for and keep information that is necessary. We will attempt to keep it as accurate and up-to-date as possible. We will explain the need for any information we ask for if you are not sure why it is needed.
We ask you to inform us about any relevant changes that we should know about. This would include such things as any new treatments or investigations being carried out that we are not aware of. Please also inform us of change of address and phone numbers.
All persons in the practice (not already covered by a professional confidentiality 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 secretary or manager to perform their tasks for the proper functioning of the practice. In this regard, patients should understand that practice staff may have access to their records for:
Identifying and printing repeat prescriptions for patients. These are then reviewed and signed by the GP.
Generating a social welfare certificate for the patient. This is then checked and signed by the GP.
Typing referral letters to hospital consultants or allied health professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists and dieticians.
- Opening letters from hospitals and consultants. The letters could be appended to a patient’s paper file or scanned into their electronic patient record.
- Scanning clinical letters, radiology reports and any other documents not available in electronic format.
- Downloading laboratory results and Out of Hours reports and performing integration of these results into the electronic patient record.
- Photocopying or printing documents for referral to consultants, attending an antenatal clinic or when a patient is changing GP.
- Checking for a patient if a hospital or consultant letter is back or if a laboratory or radiology result is back, in order to schedule a conversation with the GP.
- When a patient makes contact with a practice, checking if they are due for any preventative services, such as vaccination, ante natal visit, contraceptive pill check, cervical smear test, etc.
Handling, printing, photocopying and postage of medico legal and life assurance reports, and of associated documents.
We will only ever use or pass on your information if there is a genuine need to do so. We will not disclose information about you to third parties without your permission unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as when the law requires.
To protect your confidentiality, we will not normally disclose any medical information about you over the telephone, or by fax, unless we are sure that we are talking to you. This means that we will not disclose information to your family, friends, and colleagues about any medical matters at all, unless we know that we have your consent to do so.
Disclosure of Information to Other Health and Social Professionals
We may need to pass some of this information to other health and social care professionals in order to provide you with the treatment and services you need. Only the relevant part of your record will be released. These other professionals are also legally bound to treat your information with the same duty of care and confidence that we do.
Below is a list of organisations that we may share your information with:
- NHS hospitals;
- relevant GP Practices;
- dentists, opticians and pharmacies;
- Private Sector Providers (private hospitals, care homes, hospices, contractors providing services to the NHS).
- Voluntary Sector Providers who are directly involved in your care;
- Ambulance Service
- Clinical Commissioning Groups;
- out of Hours medical service;
- Northern Health & Social Care Trust
We may also share your information, with your consent, and subject to strict sharing protocols, about how it will be used, with:
- local authority departments, including Social Care and Health (formerly social services), education and housing and public health;
- Police and fire services
Disclosures required or permitted under law
The law provides that in certain instances personal information (including health information) can be disclosed, for example, in the case 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 work. Where it is considered necessary to provide additional information we
will discuss that with you. However, Social Welfare Certificates of Incapacity for
work must include the medical reason you are unfit to work.
- In the case of disclosures to insurance companies or requests made by solicitors form
your records we will only release the information with your signed consent.
Use of information for training, teaching and quality assurance
It is usual for GPs to discuss patient case histories as part of their continuing medical education or for the purpose of training GPs and/or medical students. In these situations the identity of the patient concerned will not be revealed.
In other situations, however, it may be beneficial for other doctors within the practice to be aware of patients with particular conditions and in such cases this practice would only communicate the information necessary to provide the highest level of care to the patient.
Our practice is involved in the training of GPs. As part of this programme student doctors will work in the practice and may be involved in your care.
Use of information for research, audit or quality assurance
It is usual for patient information to be used for these purposes in order to improve services and standards of practice.
In fact GPs on the specialist GP register of the Medical Council are now required to perform audits. In general, information used for such purposes is done in an anonymous manner with all personal identifying information removed.
If it were proposed to use your information in a way where it would not be anonymous or the Practice was involved in external research we would discuss this further with you before we proceeded and seek your written informed consent.
Please remember that the quality of the patient service provided can only be maintained and improved by training, teaching, audit and research.
Right of Access to your Health Information
The General data Protection Regulation allows you to find out what information about you is held on computer and in manual records. This is known as “right of subject access” and applies to personal information held about you. If you want to see the information about you that the practice holds:
- you will need to make a written request to the Practice Manager
- we are required to respond to you within 1 month;
- you will need to give adequate information (for example full name, address, date of birth NHS number etc);
- you will be required to provide ID before any information is released to you.
Transferring to another practice
If you decide at any time and for whatever reason to transfer to another practice we will facilitate that decision by making available to your new doctor a copy of your records on receipt of your signed consent from your new doctor. For medico-legal reasons we will also retain a copy of your records in this practice for an appropriate period of time which may exceed eight years.
Changes to this privacy notice
We keep our privacy notice under regular review.
If you have any concerns about how we use or share your information, or you do not wish us to share your information, then please contact our Practice Manager who will be able to assist you.