In every surgery patients tell us information about themselves which they don't want anyone else to know, not even their own families.
We want you to feel comfortable in discussing issues that relate to your health with your Doctor. These could include matters relating to sex, sexuality, relationships, mental illness, work, drugs, drinking etc.
Our strict duty of confidentiality to all our patients is enforced by the General Medical Council. The rules apply to all Doctors, regardless of where they work in the UK.
MEMBERS OF YOUR FAMILY
If you are unwell your partner, family or carer will be worried about you. The Doctor cannot divulge information to them without your consent. To avoid confusion, if it is okay with you, bring them with you to see the Doctor
Confidentiality is just as an important issue for young people. If a child under 16 is fully competent to understand and make informed consent regarding their own health problems, information about that child's medical health or history may not be released to a parent, legal guardian or teacher. Over 18s are responsible for their own lives.
Reception staff are never informed of your confidential consultations, however, they have to access your records to type letters, file incoming hopsital post and for a number of administration jobs. They are not allowed to access your notes for any other purpose. Our staff are highly trustworthy people and professional in their attitudes. They take responsibility for confidentiality very seriously. They are not allowed to discuss any information about patients outside of work. To do so would be a dismissible offence.
We keep all your information electronically to provide you with a better, safer service. Only the Doctors, Nurses and Reception staff employed by the Practice can access the data on our computer. Each staff member has a unique password to do this. The Practice is registered under the Data Protection Act.
OTHER PROFESSIONALS CARING FOR YOU
It helps the Doctors, Nurses, Health Visitors and Social Workers who look after you with us to share information. We won't be involving anyone in your care without your knowledge. If there is any information that you don't want the Doctor to tell these co-workers, just mention it to your Doctor.
REPORTS FOR OTHER PEOPLE
There are times you might need a report from the Doctor for someone who is not looking after you, eg your employer, an insurance company or your solicitor. We would never provide any such report without your signed consent. As with sick notes, we always provide the minimum necessary information for their and your purposes. We do not normally answer personal questions about you, which you could answer for yourself. If you wish, you have the right to check any of these reports before we send them off. If you have any worries we would recomment that you ask to check them at the time.
CONCERNED ABOUT A RELATIVE?
Occasionally you may be concerned about a relative and unable to persuade them to inform the Doctor about their symptoms, which you think might be important. In such circumstances you can write to the Doctor or make an appointnent. The Doctor will be not be able to provide you with information but may be able to act on the information you have provided. It is usually better to tell the patient that you intend to contact the Doctor first.
RELEASING INFORMATION WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT
There are a few situations when Doctors are allowed to release information without your consent. These situations are defined by the law. Such information can only be passed to the relevant Health Authorities if you are:-
- profoundly mentally ill
- have serious infections, which can be passed on easily to the general public (not sexually transmitted diseases)
- at risk of death or very serious harm
- placing others at risk of death or very serious harm.
The Doctor would have to make a judgement based on the individual's circumstances before going against your wishes.
YOUR ACCESS TO YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS
We want you to feel reassured about the information which we retain about you in your records. You have the right to see your own records to check their accuracy. If you would like to see your records, please enquire at Reception.
Test results are often requested at the Reception desk. We understand that this is a very public area. You will be offered the choice of your results written down on paper and handed to you.
If you ask someone to collect your results, please send a signed consent. Your results will be given in a sealed envelope. Your results will only be given to you personally over the telephone once we have established your identity.