Comberton & Eversden Surgeries

58 Green End, Comberton, Cambridge CB23 7DY

Rights, Responsibilities, Confidentiality and Information Governance

You have a right to expect a high standard of medical care from our Practice and we will at all times try to provide the very best care possible within the resources.

In order to assist us in this, we require that you take full responsibility for ensuring that you do not abuse the system. For example, it is your responsibility to keep medical appointments and follow the medical advice given.

We need to hold personal information about you on our Computer system and in paper records to help us to look after your health needs, and your doctor is responsible for their accuracy and safe-keeping. Please help to keep your record up to date by informing us of any changes to your circumstances

Violent patients – Zero Tolerance

The NHS operates a Zero Tolerance Policy with regard to violence and abuse and the Practice has the right to remove patients from the list with immediate effect in order to safeguard patients, practice staff and other persons.

Access to patient information and Confidentiality

The surgery has a staff confidentiality policy

The reasons for the Policy:

  • all information held at the Practice about patients is confidential, whether held electronically or in hard copy
  • other information about the Practice (for example its financial matters, staff records)   is confidential
  • staff will by necessity have access to such confidential information from time to time, this includes but is not limited to information relating to core clinical work and research studies.

Applicability

The policy applies to all employees and Partners, and also applies to other people who work at the Practice e.g. self-employed staff, temporary staff and contractors – collectively referred to herein as ‘workers’.

Policy

  • Staff must not under any circumstances disclose patient information to anyone outside the Practice, except to other health professionals on a need to know basis, or where the patient has provided written consent.
  • All information about patients is confidential: from the most sensitive diagnosis to the fact of having visited the surgery or being registered at the Practice.
  • Staff must not under any circumstances disclose other confidential information about the Practice to anyone outside the Practice unless with the express consent of the Practice Manager.
  • Staff should limit any discussion about confidential information only to those who need to know within the Practice.
  • The duty of confidentiality owed to a person under 16 is as great as the duty owed to any other person.
  • Workers must be aware of and conform to the requirements of the Caldicott recommendations.
  • All patients can expect that their personal information will not be disclosed without their permission (except in the most exceptional circumstances when disclosure is required when somebody is at grave risk of serious harm).
  • Electronic transfer of any confidential information, once approved by the [Practice Manager/Senior Partner], must be transmitted via the NHSnet.  Workers must take particular care that confidential information is not transmitted in error by email or over the Internet. See also Electronic Transfer of Patient Data Policy [*]
  • Workers must not take data from the Practice’s computer systems (e.g. on a memory stick or removable drive) off the premises unless authorised to do so by the Practice Manager.
  • Staff who suspect that a breach of confidentiality has taken place must inform the Practice Manager immediately, and disclose all details of the suspected breach.
    • Any breach of confidentiality will be considered as a serious disciplinary offence and may lead to dismissal.
    • Staff remain bound by the requirement to keep information confidential even if they are no longer employed at the Practice. Any breach, or suspected breach, of confidentiality after the worker has left the Practice’s employment may be passed to the Practice’s lawyers for action

Rights and Responsibilities Staff and Workers 

All health professionals must follow their professional codes of practice and the law. This means that they must make every effort to protect confidentiality. It also means that no identifiable information about a patient is passed to anyone or any agency without the express permission of that patient, except when this is essential for providing care or necessary to protect somebody’s health, safety or well-being.  Anyone with access to your record is properly trained in confidentiality issues.

All health professionals are individually accountable for their own actions. They should, however, also work together as a team to ensure that standards of confidentiality are upheld, and that improper disclosure is avoided.

Additionally, Dr Parker and Partners, as Employers:

  • are responsible for ensuring that everybody employed by the practice understands the need for, and maintains, confidentiality.
  • have overall responsibility for ensuring that systems and mechanisms are in place to protect confidentiality.
  • have vicarious liability for the actions of those working in the practice – including health professionals and non-clinical staff  (i.e. those not employed directly by the practice but who work in the surgery).

Standards of confidentiality apply to all health professionals, administrative and ancillary staff – including receptionists, secretaries, practice manager, cleaners and maintenance staff who are bound by contracts of employment to maintain confidentiality. They must not reveal, to anybody outside the practice, personal information they learn in the course of their work, or due to their presence in the surgery, without the patient’s consent. Nor will they discuss with colleagues any aspect of a patient’s attendance at the surgery in a way that might allow identification of the patient unless to do so is necessary for the patient’s care.

To ensure your privacy, we will not disclose information over the telephone or fax unless we are sure that we are talking to you.  Information will not be disclosed to family, friends, or spouses unless we have prior written consent, and we do not leave messages with others.

If Disclosure is Necessary

If a patient or another person is at grave risk of serious harm which disclosure to an appropriate person would prevent, the relevant health professional can take advice from colleagues within the practice, of from a professional / regulatory / defence body, in order to decide whether disclosure without consent is justified to protect the patient or another person. If a decision is taken to disclose, the patient should always be informed before disclosure is made, unless to do so could be dangerous. If at all possible, any such decisions should be shared with another member of the practice team.

Any decision to disclose information to protect health, safety or well-being will be based on the degree of current or potential harm, not the age of the patient.

Information Governance

The surgery has an information governance policy which can be found here: Information Governance Policy.