Confidentiality & Medical Records
The practice complies with data protection and access to medical records legislation. Identifiable information about you will be shared with others in the following circumstances:
- To provide further medical treatment for you e.g. from district nurses and hospital services.
- To help you get other services e.g. from the social work department. This requires your consent.
- When we have a duty to others e.g. in child protection cases anonymised patient information will also be used at local and national level to help the Health Board and Government plan services e.g. for diabetic care.
If you do not wish anonymous information about you to be used in such a way, please let us know.
Reception and administration staff require access to your medical records in order to do their jobs. These members of staff are bound by the same rules of confidentiality as the medical staff.
We help to provide national statistics to allow planning ahead for treatments, patient numbers etc., but this uses summary information, not personal information.
Some medical research will require your direct involvement (especially if taking part in clinical trials) in which case the circumstances will be fully explained to you, and your express consent required. If you do not consent, then you will not be included in the trial.
Other researchers only require access to medical statistics, which can greatly improve our understanding of health, and how to treat patients more effectively.
Generally, researchers only need information about groups of people, so that no individual information is apparent. In some cases, they need individual records, but wherever we can we will provide these in an 'anonymised' form (so individuals cannot be identified).
Sometimes, researchers need access to individual medical files. We will contact you first for your consent (and before this the researchers must present their case before an Ethics Committee to check that their research is appropriate and worthwhile).
Rarely, it may not be practicable (or possible) to contact individuals for their consent, in which case the researchers must make their case before a Confidentiality Committee to show that there is enough benefit to the public at large to justify this.
Freedom of Information
Information about the General Practioners and the practice required for disclosure under this act can be made available to the public. All requests for such information should be made to the practice manager.
Access to Records
In accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and Access to Health Records Act, patients may request to see their medical records. Such requests should be made through the practice manager and may be subject to an administration charge. No information will be released without the patient consent unless we are legally obliged to do so.
We make every effort to give the best service possible to everyone who attends our practice.
However, we are aware that things can go wrong resulting in a patient feeling that they have a genuine cause for complaint. If this is so, we would wish for the matter to be settled as quickly, and as amicably, as possible.
To pursue a complaint please contact the practice manager who will deal with your concerns appropriately. Further written information is available regarding the complaints procedure from reception.
DNA Appointment Policy
'Did Not Attend' (DNA),when the patient does not turn up for the appointment and does not contact the surgery in advance to cancel/change their appointment.
The effect of these missed appointments is:
- A waste of valuable resources and an increase in the waiting time for appointments
- Frustration for both staff and patients
If a patient fails to attend 2 appointments in one 12 month period without adequate explanation, a first warning letter will be issued advising how to cancel your appointment as soon as possible.
If a further 2 appointments are missed within the same 12 month period, a second DNA letter will be sent to the patient advising the patient will be considered for removal from the patient list after discussion & a decision by the partnership
Failed encounters will be automatically recorded in the patient’s records via the appointments system.
Warning letters are valid for a period of 12 months, consideration for removal based on warning greater than 12 months old will be invalid - in this case a further formal second DNA and period of grace will be required.
If you require the services of an interpreter please let us know when booking your appointment so that we can arrange an interpreter or link up with the translation service language line, a confidential service allowing easier communication. A double appointment is booked to allow more time to communicate via your interpreter
Interpreter services are paid for by the NHS- if a patient fails to attend an appointment where we have arranged an interpreter, a warning letter will be issued.
Zero Tolerance Policy
The NHS operate a zero tolerance policy with regard to violence and abuse and the practice has the right to remove violent patients from the list with immediate effect in order to safeguard practice staff, patients and other persons. Violence in this context includes actual or threatened physical violence or verbal abuse which leads to fear for a person’s safety. In this situation we will notify the patient in writing of their removal from the list and record in the patient’s medical records the fact of the removal and the circumstances leading to it.
Social Media Policy
The Practice has become increasingly aware of the use of Facebook and other social medial platforms by patients as a means of them expressing their views regarding Academy Medical Centre.
Due to patient confidentiality, the Practice is not in a position to respond to such posts nor clarify exactly what happened and the rationale for clinical decisions. Once a post has been put online, it is almost impossible to remove and defamation laws are equally applicable to social media. Although we may not reply, we are frequently made aware of such posts.
Nevertheless, we do genuinely welcome and encourage the views of patients to enable us to improve the service which we deliver, however all feedback to the Practice should be made via the appropriate mechanisms.
Whilst on the subject of Facebook.... The clinicians sometimes receive "friends" requests online from patients.
Whilst friends requests are usually well meant, the British Medical Association (BMA) advise that clinician's should refuse friend requests from current or former patients of the Practice, so please do not be offended that your request is declined.