Practice Policies

Patient Rights and Responsibilities

When you join any GP surgery, there are certain services, referrals to other services, treatment, and redress you can expect as a right. You are entitled to receive health care on the basis of your clinical need rather than how much you can afford. The Patients Charter (copy available at reception) outlines these rights but please note that all patients have responsibilities as well as rights, towards the practice, towards the other patients and towards the staff.

Confidentiality and patient information

All the doctors, nurses and all other members of staff at this practice and within the NHS operate a strict policy of patient confidentiality and you have our assurance that your health records, both written and on computer, will be kept confidential other than in exceptional circumstances, for example, when the health or safety of others is at risk. You should therefore feel comfortable in disclosing any information you think is important in the knowledge that all information is protected and will not be released to anyone without your consent. If you wish to discuss something of a private nature at Reception, please let the receptionist know and a separate room can be made available. It is very important that we always have the correct information about our patients so if you change your name, address or telephone number, please let us know as soon as possible. Incorrect information could result in inability to contact you to alter an appointment or to arrange follow-up if we receive abnormal test results.

Chaperoning

All patients have the right, if they wish to have a chaperone present during a consultation, examination or procedure, as this can be stressful and/or embarrassing for the patient. The doctor may also wish to have a nurse available in some instances. Patients wishing a chaperone should inform the Practice prior to the consultation, examination or procedure whereupon a mutually suitable person (usually a nurse) will be asked to help.

Access to Personal Health Information

You are entitled to access your clinical records or any other personal information held about you. If you want to see your records at this practice, you should make a written request to us. Please note that a small charge may be made for the administration and time involved in providing such access. A charge will also be made for any photocopies requested. Should the doctors decide that seeing your records might put your health at risk, or if your notes contain references to third parties, you may only be shown part of your records or your request may be declined.

Opting out of NHS Central Databases

All patients should be aware that the Government is currently proposing to collect all the nation’s medical records into central NHS databases. GPs are being asked to create a ’summary care record’ from your medical notes and upload this to the NHS ’Spine’. The summary will contain only your current prescriptions and any allergies. The intention however is to upload the rest of your record (the ’detailed care record’) in the future. The Department of Health (DoH) has argued that by having your details uploaded to the NHS ‘spine’, they will be available in an emergency when you may be seen by medical teams who do not know your history. You may indeed wish to consider this if you have complex medical problems or a condition such as diabetes or penicillin allergy, although you can be reassured that all doctors do work to established clinical protocols for patients for whom they have no medical history available.

Patients should be aware that they have the right to opt out of uploading. If you wish to do so please ask one of our receptionists for an “opt out leaflet” which you can complete and return to us.

Access to Information about the Practice

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 recognises that members of the public have the right to know how public services are organised and run, how much they cost and how decisions are made. We therefore have a Practice Publication Scheme (copies available at reception) which explains how you can access such information about this practice.