Confidentiality

Your Records are Safe with us

Your medical records are used to help the National Health Service (NHS) to provide you with the best possible care.

How your records are used to help you

As you may know, your doctor and the team of health professionals caring for you keep records about your health and the care you receive from the NHS. These are important to help ensure that you received the best possible care from us. Your records are used in the following ways to guide and administer the care you receive:

  • To ensure that your doctor or nurse has up to date and accurate information to assess your health and decide what care you need when you visit in the future
  • To ensure that full information is available should you see another doctor, or be referred to a specialist or another part of the NHS.
  • To ensure that there is a good basis for looking back and checking on the type and quality of care you have received.
  • To ensure that your concerns can be properly investigated if you need to complain.
  • Your records also help to plan NHS services for the future and ensure that there is a good basis for checking that NHS money has been well spent and that staff are paid for the work they have done.
  • If you do not want certain information recorded on your records, please talk to your doctor

Keeping your records confidential

Your doctors, their staff and everyone else working for the NHS have a legal duty to maintain the highest level of confidentiality about patient information.

In some instances you may be receiving care from other people as well as the NHS. We may need to share some information about you with them so that we can all work together for your benefit. Anyone who receives confidential information about you from us is also under a legal duty of confidence. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, for example when the health or safety of others is at risk, we will not disclose your information to third parties without your permission.

In certain circumstances we are required by law to report information to the appropriate authorities. This information is only provided after formal authority has been given by a qualified health professional. For example:

  • Notification of new births
  • Where we encounter infectious diseases that may endanger the safety of others (eg meningitis or measles, but not HIV/AIDS).
  • Where a formal court order has been issued.

However, our guiding principle is that we are holding your records in strict confidence.

How you can arrange to see your own records

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, general practices are now officially required to adopt and maintain a scheme, which makes information they hold available. Everyone should be able to see the information that is kept in his or her medical records. If you want to see them, you should make a written request to the practice addressed to the Customer Service Manager. They will then contact you to discuss details and make arrangements. Please note there is a fee for this service.

You are also entitled to receive a copy of the information you have seen (fee applicable). Should your doctor decide that seeing your records might put your health at risk, you may only be shown part of your records or your request may be declined.