NHS Data Sharing
The NHS shares information from your medical records in a number of ways.
In Hertfordshire, a number of data sharing schemes are running that involve either extracting and uploading information from your GP record to a 3rd party data controller, or making information from your GP record visible to other healthcare professionals.
You have the right to control how your personal information is used and who has access to it.
You can do this by opting out of any or all of these schemes. And you can opt back into any of the schemes, at any time.
The Summary Care Record (SCR)
This is a national centralised database of limited medical information (allergies and medication only), extracted and uploaded from your GP record to NHS Digital.
That information is then potentially available to medical staff nationwide.
There are no secondary uses of the SCR, and data uploaded to the SCR database is neither shared nor used beyond that required to provide direct medical care.
Patients registered with a GP Practice in the St Albans and Harpenden area can now make an appointment to see a GP at the weekend, Saturdays 9am-1pm and 3pm-7pm, Sundays 9am-1pm and in weekday evenings until 8pm. During these appointments your health record may be accessed and viewed by clinical staff other than your GP or a GP at your practice. Please be advised that your confidentiality will be maintained. Your information is only available locally with this scheme.
No data from your GP record is extracted, uploaded or “sent” anywhere with this system – it is “viewed” in real time.
Secondary uses of your medical record
Secondary purposes are those unrelated to your direct medical care.
Examples include using your information for research, audit, healthcare planning, risk profiling (or “stratification”), "population health management", extraction of sick note data to the DWP, commercial and even political uses.
Mandatory data collections
GP surgeries are sometimes required by law to extract and upload data to NHS Digital. We are required by law to let patients know about these and of their right to opt-out (fair processing information).
One such mandatory extraction is for Individual GP Level Data - you can read about it here.
Another mandatory data collection is the National Diabetes Audit - you can read about it here.
The other mandatory data collection is the extraction of sick note data to NHS Digital (and thereafter to the DWP), as mentioned above.
If you have opted out of secondary uses of your GP record, then data from your GP record will not be extracted and uploaded to NHS Digital for these purposes.
EMIS Health Ltd hosts our electronic GP patient records database at their secure servers in Leeds. As such, EMIS is acting as the data processor.
When we do a large scale mailout to our patients, e.g. newsletter or health campaign, Docmail Ltd - a registered and secure service used by many NHS providers support us in sending out letters from the surgery. We provide names and addresses only, and a template letter, to Docmail, who then create and post the letters out.
We provide a confidential service to all our patients, including under 16s. This means that you can tell others about a visit to the surgery, but we won't.
You can be sure that anything you discuss with any member of this practice– family doctor, nurse or receptionist – will stay confidential.
Even if you are under 16 nothing will be said to anyone – including parents, other family members, care workers or tutors – without your permission. The only reason why we might have to consider passing on confidential information without your permission would be to protect you or someone else from serious harm. We would always try to discuss this with you first.
Confidential patient data will be shared with 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.
Access to your medical record (the Right of Access)
You have the right to get a copy of the information that is held about you. This is known as a subject access request.
- You can sign up for Secure Online Access to your full GP electronic record.
- You can then look at your medical record whenever you want.
If you do wish to make a subject access request then:
- You can do this in writing (letter, email, fax)
- You can make such a request verbally to a member of staff or a doctor or nurse that you are consulting with at the surgery
Please let us know exactly what information you would like.
We will provide the information within 28 calendar days and there is usually no fee for this.