Your information, what you need to know
This notice describes why we collect information about you, how your information will be used and your rights in respect of your data.
Why we collect information about you
Your records are used to ensure you get the best possible care. Your information helps them to make the best decisions about your care and helps provide you with proactive advice and guidance. Important information is also collected to help us to remind you about specific treatment which you might need, such as health checks, immunisations for children and reminders for screening appointments. We work with other NHS services to co-ordinate these.
Information held about you may be used to help protect the health of the public and to help us to improve NHS services. Information may be used within the GP practice to monitor the quality of the service provided (known as ‘clinical audit’).
Data we collect and receive about you
Records are stored electronically and on paper and include personal details about you such as your address, carers, legal representatives, emergency contact details, as well as:
- any appointments, visits, emergency appointments
- notes and reports about your health
- details about your diagnosis, treatment and care
- details about any medication you are taking
- results of investigations such as laboratory tests, x-rays
- relevant information from health and care professionals, relatives or carers
We also receive information from other organisations that are caring for you that we hold in your record. This will include letters and test results.
Using your information for providing your care
Where you have agreed we will send information on your prescriptions to pharmacies, either by electronic systems or by paper.
Test requests and results
Where we undertake tests on you, such as blood tests, we will send the sample and details of the tests we are requesting to the most appropriate pathology laboratory. The data shared with the laboratory will include your NHS number, name, the type of test requested and any health information relevant to doing the test and producing the result or report. We will receive the test results back from the laboratory electronically and these will be stored in your patient record.
Extended services and out of hours
We work closely with neighbouring practices and ‘out of hours’ providers including NHS 111 to ensure that if you need care from a doctor outside of normal hours that they have access to your records when needed to give you the best possible care. This may be delivered over the phone or via video consultation as appropriate. Services may be run by ‘GP Federations’ and ‘Primary Care Networks’.
With your agreement, your GP or Nurse may refer you to other services not provided by the practice, or they may work with other services to provide your care in the practice. Information will be shared by letters, emails and shared record systems.
Once you have been seen, the other care agency will tell us about the treatment they have provided for you and any support which your GP needs to provide. This information is then included in your record. Referrals can be to lots of different services, such as smoking cessation services, social prescribers, voluntary services and other health and care agencies, as appropriate, for your care.
Hospital, community or social care services
Sometimes the staff caring for you need to share some of your information with others who are also supporting you. This could include hospital or community based specialists, nurses, health visitors, therapists or social care services. Information will be shared to organisations where you receive care, whether that is local or further away, if you need specialist care or emergency care in another.
Shared computer systems
Health and Social care services are developing shared systems to share data efficiently and quickly. It is important for anyone treating you to be able to access your shared record so that they have all the information they need to care for you. This will be during your routine appointments and also in urgent situations such as going to A&E, calling 111 or going to an Out of hours appointment. It is also quicker for staff to access a shared record than to try to contact other staff by phone or email.
Only authorised staff can access the systems and the information they see is carefully checked so that it relates to their job. Systems do not share all your data, just data which services have agreed is necessary to include.
For more information about shared care records, please go to the SIDer website.
Safeguarding of children or vulnerable adults
If we have significant concerns or hear about an individual child or vulnerable adult being at risk of harm, we may share relevant information with other organisations, such as local authorities and the Police, involved in ensuring their safety.
Ensuring medicines work well
We work with the local Medicines Management team of the Clinical Commissioning Group to help get the best out of medicines for patients and ensure they are effective in managing conditions. This generally uses anonymous data, but occasionally they will assist in reviews of medication for patients with complex needs. Doctors may also seek advice and guidance on prescribing queries.
Identifying health risks
Systems known as ‘risk stratification tools’ are used to help determine a person’s risk of suffering particular conditions and enable us to focus on preventing ill health before it develops. Information in these systems comes from a number of sources, such as hospitals and the practice. This can help us identify and offer you additional services to improve your health.
Multi-disciplinary team meetings
For some long term conditions, such as diabetes, the practice participates in meetings with staff from other agencies involved in providing care, to help plan the best way to provide care to patients with these conditions.
National Services (including screening programmes)
There are some national services like National Diabetes Audit and the National Cancer Screening Programmes that collect and keep information from across the NHS. This is how the NHS knows when to contact you about services like cervical, breast or bowel cancer screening.
You can find out more about how the NHS holds and shares your information for national programmes on the NHS screening website.
Data may also be shared on anyone who contracts a ‘communicable disease’, such as Covid 19, in order to manage public health and safety.
Beyond providing your care
The information collected about you when you use our services can also be used and provided to other organisations for purposes beyond your individual care, for instance to help with:
- improving the quality and standards of care
- research into the development of new treatments
- preventing illness and diseases
- monitoring safety
- planning new services
- public health screening
- assisting the Care Quality Commission with any investigations
- investigating fraud
Wherever possible data used for these purposes is anonymised so that you cannot be identified. If information cannot be completely anonymous, then this may only take place when the law allows the information to be used. All these uses help to provide better health and care for you, your family and future generations.