Rights and Responsibilities
You will be treated with respect and as a partner in your care. Being a partner means you have responsibilities too.
- Ensure our patients have 24-hour access to medical advice.
- Aim for you to have access to a suitably qualified medical professional within 48 hours of your initial contact during surgery hours, or in an urgent case, the same day.
- Work in partnership with you to achieve the best medical care possible.
- Involve you and listen to your opinions and views in all aspects of your medical care.
- The prevention of disease, illness and injury is a primary concern.
The medical staff will advise and inform you of the steps you can take to promote good health and a healthy lifestyle. We would respectfully ask that you:
- Let us know if you intend to cancel an appointment or are running late.
- Treat staff with courtesy and respect. Reception staff may have to ask some personal questions to assist us in providing you with the best service
- Inform the practice staff of any alterations in your circumstances, such as change of surname, address or telephone number. Please ensure that we have your correct telephone number, even if it’s ex-directory.
As patients, you are responsible for your own health and that of any dependents. It is important that you adhere to information and advice given to you by health professionals, and co-operate with the practice in endeavouring to keep you healthy.
The practice has a zero tolerance approach to violence against members of the practice team. Patients who show violence in the surgery can expect the police to be called and you will be removed from the premises and may be removed from the Practice list.
If a patient is abusive or threatening to any member of the team we will contact that individual by letter and explain our zero tolerance policy against violence. If you are persistently abusive in our surgery to our colleagues you may be removed from the practice list. You will then be responsible for finding another doctor for yourself.
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 e.g. from district nurses and hospital services.
- To help you get other services e.g. from the social work department. This requires your consent.
- When we have a duty to others e.g. 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 e.g. for diabetic care.
If you do not wish anonymous information about you to be used in such a way, please let us know.
Reception and administration staff require access to your medical records in order to do their jobs. These members of staff are bound by the same rules of confidentiality as the medical staff.
Patients may see their own computerised medical record during a consultation with either the Doctor or Nurse, if either allows you access. Patients can request access to their own written and computer records if requested. Accessing your medical health records A guide to the Data Protection Act 1998
What do we mean by "accessing health records"?
This means that you can see and/or have copies of your health records. These records could be those at the hospital or those held by your GP, dentist, pharmacist or optician. They also include records written by health visitors district nurses and other community staff as well as the ambulance service Records includes x-rays, scans reports etc
Why would I want to access my health records?
You may want to know what's been written in your health records for many reasons. You may be thinking of making a complaint about your health care. You do not have to tell anyone the reason why you want to access your health records.
Will I have to pay any charges?
- Normally you may be asked to pay a fee of £10. (However if you are viewing manual records, and they have had something added to them in the 40 days before you applied for access to them, there is no charge).
- If you require copies of your health records, then a charge may be made which should be the actual costs incurred to provide the record, and in any case should not exceed £50 (including the £10 fee for access).
- You can also ask for somebody to be present, to provide any necessary explanations of what is written in your health records.
- The person providing the record is obliged to provide an explanation of unintelligible records, whether this is because they are illegible or
- For some other reason, such as the use of technical terms. No charge can be made for the supply of such an explanation.
Are there any date or time restrictions on health records that I can access?
No. You can request access to any health record that you know exists. (The cut off point in earlier legislation of November 1991 no longer applies).
How long should it take for my request to be processed?
You should be able to view and/or have copies of your health records within 40 days of your request being made and any necessary fee being paid.
What if I'm requesting access to health records of somebody who has died?
Your rights are different. As the duty of confidentiality survives a patient's death then you have to have good reasons for wanting access. This may be because you are;
- The patients personal representative
- An executor of their will
- A person granted letters of administration by the probate registry, or
- A person with a claim arising out of the patient's death.
You can only access health records that were made from 1 November 1991. Similar charges apply as above. You can ask for somebody to be present, to provide any necessary explanations of what is written in the health records.
Can my request be refused?
Yes. Where the record holder feels that it would cause serious harm to the physical or mental health of you or anyone else then you may be refused access. If you are refused access for this reason then you have the right to be advised about this refusal. You may also be refused access where your health records contain information about someone else
If I am unhappy about how my request for access has been handled, is there anyone I can complain to?
Yes. You can complain direct to the organisation concerned under the NHS Complaints Procedure.
Every NHS organisation can give you details on this. Alternatively, you can contact the Data Protection Commissioner who can offer advice and guidance. They may be contacted by telephoning 01625 545745 or in writing to - The Office of the Data Protection Registrar Wycliffe House Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.
What if I think the record is wrong?
If you consider that information is not accurate you can ask for it to be corrected. If the health professional believes the information to be accurate then it would be good practice for them to add a note indicating that you disagree. If the health professional refuses to make the necessary correction a complaint can be made to the office of the Data Protection Commissioner or application to the court for an order that the data be corrected. It may also be a matter you could report to the Health Service Commissioner.
How can I access my health records?
You must put your request in writing although the records may not be removed from the practice premises. Assistance is given by the practice manager if access is required to the computer record and in this circumstance a member of staff will stay with you at all times to ensure confidentiality of other patients records. If copies or a computer printout are required, a charge is made for this to cover costs incurred. Access to medical records for people outside the health care team (or who are involved in the patient's clinical care) is only given with the patient's express written permission. District nurses and health visitors have access to the medical records of the patients in their care.