In addition to our standard privacy notice, during the COVID-19 epidemic, GP Practices are required to comply with requests from the Secretary of State to collect, process and analyse data for pandemic planning and research. The COVID-19 specific Privacy Notice can be found below. An additional transparency notice for GPES data extraction can be found here
Covid-19 and your information - Updated on 8th April 2020 Supplementary privacy note on Covid-19 for Patients/Service Users
This notice describes how we may use your information to protect you and others during the Covid-19 outbreak. It supplements our main Privacy Notice which is available under practice info -> practice policies (scroll down below)
The health and social care system is facing significant pressures due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Health and care information is essential to deliver care to individuals, to support health and social care services and to protect public health. Information will also be vital in researching, monitoring, tracking and managing the outbreak. In the current emergency it has become even more important to share health and care information across relevant organisations.
Existing law which allows confidential patient information to be used and shared appropriately and lawfully in a public health emergency is being used during this outbreak. Using this law the Secretary of State has required NHS Digital; NHS England and
Improvement; Arms Length Bodies (such as Public Health England); local authorities; health organisations and GPs to share confidential patient information to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak. Any information used or shared during the Covid-19 outbreak will be limited to the period of the outbreak unless there is another legal basis to use the data. Further information is available on gov.uk here and some FAQs on this law are available here.
During this period of emergency, opt-outs will not generally apply to the data used to support the Covid-19 outbreak, due to the public interest in sharing information. This includes National Data Opt-outs. However in relation to the Summary Care Record, existing choices will be respected. Where data is used and shared under these laws your right to have personal data erased will also not apply. It may also take us longer to respond to Subject Access requests, Freedom of Information requests and new opt-out requests whilst we focus our efforts on responding to the outbreak.
In order to look after your health and care needs we may share your confidential patient information including health and care records with clinical and non clinical staff in other health and care providers, for example neighbouring GP practices, hospitals and NHS 111. We may also use the details we have to send public health messages to you, either by phone, text or email.
During this period of emergency we may offer you a consultation via telephone or video- conferencing. By accepting the invitation and entering the consultation you are consenting to this. Your personal/confidential patient information will be safeguarded in the same way it would with any other consultation.
We will also be required to share personal/confidential patient information with health and care organisations and other bodies engaged in disease surveillance for the purposes of protecting public health, providing healthcare services to the public and monitoring and managing the outbreak. Further information about how health and care data is being used and shared by other NHS and social care organisations in a variety of ways to support the Covid-19 response is here.
NHS England and Improvement and NHSX have developed a single, secure store to gather data from across the health and care system to inform the Covid-19 response. This includes data already collected by NHS England, NHS Improvement, Public Health England and NHS Digital. New data will include 999 call data, data about hospital occupancy and A&E capacity data as well as data provided by patients themselves. All the data held in the platform is subject to strict controls that meet the requirements of data protection legislation.
In such circumstances where you tell us you’re experiencing Covid-19 symptoms we may need to collect specific health data about you. Where we need to do so, we will not collect more information than we require and we will ensure that any information collected is treated with the appropriate safeguards.
We may amend this privacy notice at any time so please review it frequently. The date at the top of this page will be amended each time this notice is updated.
This privacy notice explains why Yealm Medical Centre collects information about you, how we keep it safe and confidential and how that information may be used.
Why we collect information about you
Health care professionals who provide you with care are required by law to maintain records about your health and any treatment or care you have received within any NHS organization. These records help to provide you with the best possible healthcare.
We collect and hold data for the sole purpose of providing healthcare services to our patients. In carrying out this role we may collect information about you, which helps us to respond to your queries or secure specialist services. We may keep your information in written form and/or in digital form. The records may include basic information about you, such as name and address. They may also contain more sensitive information about your health and information such as outcomes of needs assessment.
Details we collect about you
The health care professionals who provide you with care maintain records about your health, and any treatment or care you have received previously or elsewhere (eg NHS Hospital Trusts, other GP surgery, Out of Hours GP Centre, ED, Walk-in-Clinic etc). These records help to provide you with the best possible healthcare.
Records, which we may hold about you, may include the following:
- Details about you, such as your address and next of kin, emergency contacts
- Your home telephone number, mobile phone number, e-mail address
- Any contact the surgery has had with you, such as appointments, clinic visits, immunisations, emergency appointments etc.
- Notes and reposts about your health, treatment and care
- Photographs that you have sent in to us via email or AccuRx
- email messages that you have sent in to us
- Results of investigations, such as laboratory tests, x-rays etc.
- Relevant information from other health professionals, relatives or those who care for you, or information provided to the surgery by you (including that provided via our surgery website)
How we keep your information confidential and safe
All your GP NHS health records are kept electronically. Our GP records database is hosted by TPP (The Phoenix Partnership) via their SystmOne Healthcare record, who is acting as a data processor, and all information is stored on our secure servers which are protected by appropriate security, and access is limited to authorised personnel.
We also make sure that data processors that support us are legally and contractually bound to operate and prove security arrangements are in place where data that could or does identify a person are processed.
We only email you, or use your mobile number to text you, regarding matters of medical care. Unless you have separately given your explicit consent we will not email you for non-medical matters (such as surgery newsletters and other information).
We maintain our duty of confidentiality to you always. We will only ever use or pass on information about you if others involved in your care have a genuine need for it. We will not disclose your information to any third party without your permission unless there are exceptional circumstances (ie. life or death situations) or where the law requires information to be passed on.
How we use information about you
Confidential patient data will be shared within the healthcare team at the practice, including nursing staff, admin staff, secretaries and receptionists, and with other healthcare professionals to whom a patient is referred. Those individuals have a professional and contractual duty of confidentiality.
Yealm Medical Centre use data processors to perform certain administrative tasks for us, particularly where these involve large numbers of patients. Details of these data processors can be found on our website.
Referrals for specific health purposes
We sometimes provide your information to other organisations for them to provide you with medical services. We will always inform you of such a referral and you always have the right to not be referred in this way. These include:
- Referrals for home oxygen services
- Referrals for diabetes eye screening
Data Sharing Schemes
There are a number of data sharing schemes are active locally, enabling healthcare professionals outside of the surgery to view information from your GP record, with your explicit consent, should that need arise. These schemes include:
- The National Summary Care Record
- Adastra Web Access (GP OOH)
- SWAST (Ambulance service)
Details of these schemes and your right to opt out of any or all of them can be found on our website.
Mandatory Disclosures of Information
We are sometimes legally obliged to disclose information about patients to relevant authorities. In these circumstances the minimum identifiable information that is essential to serve that legal purpose will be disclosed.
That organization will also have professional and contractual duty of confidentiality. Data will be anonymised if at all possible before disclosure if this would serve the purpose for which the data is required.
Organisations that we are sometimes obliged to release information to include:
- NHS Digital (Open Exeter)
- NHS Counter Fraud
- The Courts
- Public Health England
- Local Authorities (Social Services)
- The Health Service Ombudsman
In the event of actual or possible legal proceedings, we may need to disclose information from and individual’s GP record to a medical defence organization.
Permissive Disclosure of Information
Only with your explicit consent, Yealm Medical Centre can release information about you, from your GP record to relevant organisations. These may include
- Your employer
- Insurance companies
- Local Authorities
Accessing your information on other databases
Yealm Medical Centre can access certain medical information about you, when relevant or necessary that is held on other databases (ie. under the control of another data controller). This includes NHS Digitals Open Exeter database and Eclipse database. Accessing such information would only be for your direct medical care.
Yealm Medical Centre undertakes accredited research projects. Where this involves accessing or disclosing identifiable patient information we will only do so with the explicit consent of the individual and Research Ethics Committee approval.
Your right to opt-out of sharing your information
You have the right to opt out (or object) to ways in which your information is shared, both for direct medical care purposes (such as the national NHS data sharing schemes) ie primary uses of your information, or for purposes other than your direct medical care (called secondary uses). Please speak to the practice manager if you wish to object. You also have the right to have any mistakes or errors corrected..
Accessing your own medical information
You have the right to access your own GP record. Details of how to do this can be found on our website or by completing a request form from the reception team.
The Data Protection Act 1998 requires organisations to register a notification with the Information Commissioner to describe the purposes for which they process personal and sensitive information. Yealm Medical Centre is registered as a data controller and our registration can be viewed online in the public register.
Data Protection Officer
We are legally required to have a Data Protection Officer (DPO). A DPO is an independent advocate who ensures that we are meeting the requirements of GDPR. Our DPO is Bex Lovewell and she can be contacted on:
c/o Express Diagnostics and Treatment Services, Research Way, Plymouth PL6 8BU
Phone: 07375322875 E-mail: email@example.com
If you have concerns or are unhappy about any of our services, please contact our Practice Manager. Details of how to complain are on our website or available at the surgery.
For independent advice about data protection, privacy and data sharing issues you can contact:
The Information Commissioner
Cheshire SK9 5AF
Phone: 08456 306060 Website: www.ico.gov.uk