General Data Protection Regulation ( GDPR )
With effect from 25 May 2018 this new regulation replaces the existing Data Protection Act 1998.
To continue to receive SMS (text) and Email messages from the surgery we will need your written consent. This is VERY IMPORTANT – we often need to contact patients in a hurry with abnormal results etc and traditional methods (such as letters and phone calls) are either too slow and/or too costly (when you factor in staff time) for a surgery with a small budget. To operate swiftly, safely and efficiently we need the freedom to be able to contact you ‘electronically.’
Please follow the link below to complete the online form.
Each patient needs to complete the above form – there isn’t a ‘family form’.
Posters will be displayed in the waiting room or you can ask at reception for further information.
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This Section will be Amended and Updated as information becomes available.
General Data Protection Regulation – ( GDPR )
As you're probably aware there are changes in the way people must handle your confidential information. On the 25th of May 2018 the European 'General Data Protection Regulation' came into force and we're expected to make suitable arrangements to implement this (on top of everything else we have to do. We have made an application for a 36 hour day in order to be able to accommodate the current burden of rules and regulations without reducing the time we spent on patient care … but, to date, have not had a positive response.)
We hope you are aware that we have a good record when it comes to fighting to protect your confidential information - having, for example, fought the old 'Family Health Service Authority' in order to stop them sending people round to the practice in so as to leaf through your old paper records without your knowledge or consent. We won that one (with the invaluable help of a patient who is also a barrister.)
There are good reasons for sharing some information ... for example 'big data' is very helpful in cancer research. The sharing has to be done properly, though. There was a massive loss of confidence in the way the NHS handles these matters when it attempted to introduce the care.data scheme (where consent wasn't sought - you were expected to opt out if you didn't like the idea - and doing so wasn't easy) and there were constant rumours about plans to sell information extracted from patients' confidential records without their consent to all and sundry. This, as I say, resulted in widespread distrust amongst both patients and healthcare professionals.
Those with long memories will recall that we asked all our patients at that stage whether or not they wanted to be part of the care.data scheme ... a massive undertaking! This was because we felt that our patients needed to agree to have their records shared. (We didn't feel it was enough to assume people were in agreement unless they opted out ... many patients had no idea what was going and so their failure to opt out didn't carry any weight.)
The situation now is far more complex than it was in the good old days of paper records when we could see what was happening to your 'notes'. These days the NHS has ways of 'extracting data' from computer records whilst we sleep – so it's impossible for a well 'past-his-sell-by-date' GP such as me to effectively police it.
Moreover, the modern 'computer systems' used by GPs are constantly 'online.' (Hitherto your records were held on our server – but even this wasn't as secure as it might at first appear.) So the degree of control we have over your records is constantly diminishing. My assumption is that the unwritten rule is that 'if you want to use NHS services you must be prepared to share your 'data' with the wider NHS ... and, if you don't want to do that, you'll just have to 'go private.' Needless to say, the latter is not a realistic option for most people.
MedConfidential says: "Right now, medical confidentiality is under serious threat. The whole structure of the NHS has changed and there’s far more emphasis on centralising and sharing information. ... But what the architects of these new schemes see only as ‘data’, patients see as highly personal information about themselves. It’s about the things they may choose not to tell even their closest friends and family." (See https://medconfidential.org/about/ for details.)
As for the European 'General Data Protection Regulation', there is certainly a need to tighten up the way your confidential information is handled (by everyone –not just the NHS.) I'm not altogether sure how it will impact on small-town practices, however. Whether or not this will benefit our patients or hinder the care we are able to provide (by making it more difficult to communicate with others involved in your care ... hospital consultants etc) remains to be seen.
So all I can really say is "We'll continue to do our best."
There follows the standard spiel which we have 'borrowed' from the British Medical Association, trusting them to have worded it in a way which sufficiently protects your interests. If you disagree, please let me know.
Please click on each link below to read the documents:
How Greenwood Surgery uses your information to provide you with healthcare
How your information is used for medical research and to measure the quality of care
How your information is shared so that this practice can meet legal requirements
National screening programmes