We are obliged to comply with the Data Protection Act 2018 and other guidance on privacy and data confidentiality, which we take very seriously. In order to provide care we are obliged to keep records of all medical information, which is kept either in paper form or stored on computer.
In order to manage services and improve the quality of patient care we proved we are sometimes asked to share information on practice activity with the CHP pharmacist, Health Board, Common Service Agency and the Scottish Executive. Whenever possible this information is anonymised.
Information is not shared with any third party outside the Health Service without your written consent. We are obliged by law to provide certain information, such as notification of certain infectious diseases. If you require further information regarding data protection please contact the practice manager.
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, such as from district nurses and hospital services.
- To help you get other services, such as from the social work department. This requires your consent.
When we have a duty to others, such as 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, such as for diabetic care. If you do not wish anonymous information about you to be used in such a way please let us know by contacting the practice.
Personal Health Information
To provide you with the care you need, we hold the details of your consultations, illnesses, tests, prescriptions and other treatments that have been recorded by everyone involved in your care, such as GP, health visitor, practice nurse. This information may be stored on paper or electronically on computer files by practice staff.
We sometimes disclose some of your personal health information to other organisations involved in your care. For example, when your GP refers you to a specialist at the hospital we will send relevant details about you in the referral letter and receive information about you from them.
Our practice also participates in regional and national programmes such as the cervical cytology screening service and your name and address, date of birth and health number will be given to them in order to send an invitation to you.
We need to use some of your personal health information for administrative purposes. In order to receive payment for services provided to you, we have to disclose basic details about you to the NHS Board responsible for this area and to the Common Services Agency for the Scottish Health Service.
These organisations have a role in protecting public funds and are authorised to check that payments are being properly made. We are required to co-operate with these checks and disclosure of your data is a necessary part of our provision of healthcare services.
Sometimes we may participate in studies that are designed to improve the way services are provided to you or to check that our performance meets required standards. Whenever we take part in activities such as these we will ensure as far as possible any details that may identify you are not disclosed. Where you need a service provided jointly with a local authority we will seek your permission before giving them your details.
Sometimes we are required by law to pass on information, such as the notification to the government of births and deaths and certain diseases or crimes is a legal requirement. Our use of your personal health information is covered by a duty of confidentiality, and is regulated by the Data Protection Act. The Data Protection Act gives you a number of rights in relation to how your personal information is used including a right to access the information we hold about you.
Everyone working for the NHS has a legal duty to keep information about you confidential and adheres to a Code of Practice on protecting patient confidentiality. Anyone who receives information from us is also under a legal duty to keep it confidential.
Scottish Primary Care Information Resource (SPIRE)
This has been developed to help GPs, the NHS in Scotland and researches learn from information held at GP Practices. Gathering this information will help improve health and care services in Scotland.
Benefits of the improved service are:
- Improving the quality of care for people who have a condition or a health need.
- Improving the quality of care for all patients.
- Responding to major public health issues like flu epidemics.
- Improving the provision of health and care to vulnerable or disadvantaged groups.
- Developing knowledge about the uptake of vital medicines and vaccines.
- Supporting research into new treatments for particular illnesses.
What Information will be used
- To understand and analyse the data, information such as your date of birth, gender, vaccinations, diagnoses and prescribed medicines, will be used from your GP patient records.
- To protect confidentiality, these details will be encrypted before they are sent, so you can be confident that your information is secure at all times.
Who will be able to access the Information gather through SPIRE
The information will be used by trained and authorised analysts at NHS National Services Scotland. For example, to work out the total number of people in Scotland with a particular illness. Individual data will be grouped together to produce national and local Health Board summaries, which will be publicly available.
You will not be able to be identified from these reports. Health researchers from outside the NHS Scotland (for example, charity or university researches) will have to apply to an independent steering group if they want to use the information.
Permission will only be considered where there is a clear health benefit and where patient confidentiality can be maintained at all times. The steering group includes members of the public who represent patients’ interests.
What choices do I have
If you’re happy for NHS Scotland to use information from your GP patient records for planning health and care services and for research, then you don’t need to anything, it will happen automatically.
If you have questions about SPIRE or want to know more about how confidential information is managed, just visit the spire.scot website. Alternatively call NHS inform on 0800 22 44 88 to find out more.
If you do not want information from your GP records to be used in this way, you need to log onto spire.scot website and complete the opt out form. You need to bring this to your GP Practice so your records can be updated.
You can change your mind at any time. Your choice will not affect the care you receive from your GP.