Access to Records
Such requests should be made through the practice manager and may be subject to an administration charge. No information will be released without the patient’s consent unless we are legally obliged to do so.
Care Quality Commission
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) makes sure hospitals, care homes, dental and GP surgeries, and all other care services in England provide people with safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality care, and encourages them to make improvements where possible.
They do this by inspecting services and publishing the results on their website: www.cqc.org.uk
You can use the results to help you make better decisions about the care you, or someone you care for, receives.
Our CQC Inspection
Our practice is inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to ensure we are meeting essential standards of quality and safety.
This link provides a summary of the results of the latest checks carried out by the CQC.
If you feel you would like a chaperone present at your consultation please inform your doctor/nurse who will be happy to arrange this for you.
The practice prides itself in maintaining professional standards. For certain examinations during consultations an impartial observer (a ‘chaperone’) will be required.
This impartial observer will be a practice nurse or healthcare assistant who is familiar with the procedure and be available to reassure and raise any concerns on your behalf. If a nurse is unavailable at the time of your consultation then your examination may be re-scheduled for another time.
You are free to decline any examination or choose an alternative examiner or chaperone. You may also request a chaperone for any examination or consultation if one is not offered to you. The GP may not undertake an examination if a chaperone is declined.
The role of a Chaperone
A chaperone is there to:
- Maintain professional boundaries during intimate examinations
- Acknowledge a patient’s vulnerability
- Provide emotional comfort and reassurance
- Assist in the examination
- Assist with undressing patients, if required
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. You can contact us online by contacting the practice.
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.
COVID-19 and Your Information
The ICO recognises the unprecedented challenges the NHS and other health professionals are facing during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The ICO also recognises that ‘Public bodies may require additional collection and sharing of personal data to protect against serious threats to public health.’
The government have also taken action in respect of this and on the 20th March 2020 the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care issued a notice under Regulation 3(4) of The Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 requiring organisations such as GP practices to use your information to help GP practices and other healthcare organisations to respond to and deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In order to look after your healthcare needs during this difficult time, we may urgently need to share your personal information, including medical records, with clinical and non-clinical staff who belong to organisations that are permitted to use your information and need to use it to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. This could (amongst other measures) consist of either treating you or a member of your family and enable us and other healthcare organisations to monitor the disease, assess risk and manage the spread of the disease.
Please be assured that we will only share information and health data that is necessary to meet yours and public healthcare needs.
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has also stated that these measures are temporary and will expire on the 30th September 2021 unless a further extension is required. Any further extension will be provided in writing and we will communicate the same to you.
Please note that the data protection and electronic communication laws do not stop us from sending public health messages to you, either by phone, text or email as these messages are not direct marketing.
It may also be necessary, where the latest technology allows us to do so, to use your information and health data to facilitate digital consultations and diagnoses and we will always do this with your security in mind.
Your Data Matters to the NHS
Information about your health and care helps us to improve your individual care, speed up diagnosis, plan your local services and research new treatments. The NHS is committed to keeping patient information safe and always being clear about how it is used.
How your data is used
Information about your individual care, such as treatment and diagnoses, is collected about you whenever you use health and care services. It is also used to help us and other organisations for research and planning such as research into new treatments, deciding where to put GP clinics and planning for the number of doctors and nurses in your local hospital. It is only used in this way when there is a clear legal basis to use the information to help improve health and care for you, your family and future generations.
Wherever possible we try to use data that does not identify you, but sometimes it is necessary to use your confidential patient information.
You have a choice
You do not need to do anything if you are happy about how your information is used. If you do not want your confidential patient information to be used for research and planning, you can choose to opt out securely online or through a telephone service. You can change your mind about your choice at any time.
Will choosing this opt-out affect your care and treatment?
No, choosing to opt out will not affect how information is used to support your care and treatment. You will still be invited for screening services, such as screenings for bowel cancer.
What do you need to do?
If you are happy for your confidential patient information to be used for research and planning, you do not need to do anything.
To find out more about the benefits of data sharing, how data is protected, or to make/change your opt-out choice visit www.nhs.uk/your-nhs-data-matters.
How the NHS and care services use your information
The Limes Medical Centre is one of many organisations working in the health and care system to improve care for patients and the public .
Whenever you use a health or care service, such as attending Accident & Emergency or using Community Care services, important information about you is collected in a patient record for that service. Collecting this information helps to ensure you get the best possible care and treatment.
The information collected about you when you use these services can also be used and provided to other organisations for purposes beyond your individual care, for instance to help with:
- improving the quality and standards of care provided
- research into the development of new treatments
- preventing illness and diseases
- monitoring safety
- planning services
This may only take place when there is a clear legal basis to use this information. All these uses help to provide better health and care for you, your family and future generations. Confidential patient information about your health and care is only used like this where allowed by law.
Most of the time, anonymised data is used for research and planning so that you cannot be identified in which case your confidential patient information isn’t needed.
You have a choice about whether you want your confidential patient information to be used in this way. If you are happy with this use of information you do not need to do anything. If you do choose to opt out your confidential patient information will still be used to support your individual care.
To find out more or to register your choice to opt out, please visit www.nhs.uk/your-nhs-data-matters. On this web page you will:
- See what is meant by confidential patient information
- Find examples of when confidential patient information is used for individual care and examples of when it is used for purposes beyond individual care
- Find out more about the benefits of sharing data
- Understand more about who uses the data
- Find out how your data is protected
- Be able to access the system to view, set or change your opt-out setting
- Find the contact telephone number if you want to know any more or to set/change your opt-out by phone
- See the situations where the opt-out will not apply
You can also find out more about how patient information is used at:
www.hra.nhs.uk/information-about-patients (which covers health and care research); and www.understandingpatientdata.org.uk/what-you-need-know (which covers how and why patient information is used, the safeguards and how decisions are made)
You can change your mind about your choice at any time.
Data being used or shared for purposes beyond individual care does not include your data being shared with insurance companies or used for marketing purposes and data would only be used in this way with your specific agreement.
Health and care organisations have until 2020 to put systems and processes in place so they can be compliant with the national data opt-out and apply your choice to any confidential patient information they use or share for purposes beyond your individual care. Our organisation ‘is currently’ compliant with the national data opt-out policy.
Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information Act creates a right of access to recorded information and obliges a public authority to:
- Have a publication scheme in place
- Allow public access to information held by public authorities.
The Act covers any recorded organisational information such as reports, policies or strategies, that is held by a public authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and by UK-wide public authorities based in Scotland. However, it does not cover personal information such as patient records, which are covered by the Data Protection Act.
Public authorities include government departments, local authorities, the NHS, state schools and police forces.
The Act is enforced by the Information Commissioner who regulates both the Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act.
The surgery publication scheme
A publication scheme requires an authority to make information available to the public as part of its normal business activities. The scheme lists information under seven broad classes, which are:
- Who we are and what we do
- What we spend and how we spend it
- What our priorities are and how we are doing it
- How we make decisions
- Our policies and procedures
- Lists and registers
- The services we offer
You can request our publication scheme leaflet at the surgery.
Who can request information?
Under the Act, any individual, anywhere in the world, is able to make a request to a practice for information. An applicant is entitled to be informed in writing, by the practice, whether the practice holds information of the description specified in the request and if that is the case, have the information communicated to him/her. An individual can request information, regardless of whether he/she is the subject of the information or affected by its use.
How should requests be made?
- Be made in writing (this can be electronically e.g. email/fax)
- State the name of the applicant and an address for correspondence
- Describe the information requested
What cannot be requested?
Personal data about staff and patients covered under Data Protection Act.
For more information see these pages:
The Limes Medical Practice Publication of Earnings 2020/21
All GP practices are required to declare the mean earnings (e.g., average) for GPs working to deliver NHS services to patients at each practice.
The average pay for GPs working at the surgery in the last financial year before tax and National Insurance was £70,610. This is for 3 part time GPs who worked in the practice for more than 6 months.
Infection Control Statement
We have allocated a named accountable GP for all of our registered patients. If you do not know who your named GP is, please ask a member of our reception team by contacting us. Unfortunately, we are unable to notify patients in writing of any change of GP due to the costs involved.
Suggestions, Comments and Complaints
We are always willing to hear any comments, constructive suggestions and complaints about the services we offer, and our practice manager will be happy to discuss these with you. We operate a practice complaints procedure as part of the NHS system for dealing with complaints. Our system meets national criteria. We have a complaints leaflet which is available at reception, giving details of the procedure.
You can read more about our complaints procedure in our leaflet:
If you would like to provide feedback online, you can do so by completing the Feedback and Complaints triage.
We do not respond to complaints posted on the NHS Choices website.
Summary Care Record
There is a central NHS computer system called the Summary Care Record (SCR). It is an electronic record which contains information about the medicines you take, allergies you suffer from and any bad reactions to medicines you have had.
Why do I need a Summary Care Record?
Storing information in one place makes it easier for healthcare staff to treat you in an emergency, or when your GP practice is closed.
This information could make a difference to how a doctor decides to care for you, for example which medicines they choose to prescribe for you.
Who can see it?
Only healthcare staff involved in your care can see your Summary Care Record.
How do I know if I have one?
Over half of the population of England now have a Summary Care Record. You can find out whether Summary Care Records have come to your area by contacting the practice.
Do I have to have one?
No, it is not compulsory. If you choose to opt out of the scheme, then you will need to complete a form and bring it along to the surgery. You can also opt-out online by contacting the practice.
For further information visit the “your health records” page on the NHS website.
The NHS operate a zero tolerance policy with regard to violence and abuse and the practice has the right to remove violent patients from the list with immediate effect in order to safeguard practice staff, patients and other persons.
Violence in this context includes actual or threatened physical violence or verbal abuse which leads to fear for a person’s safety. In this situation we will notify the patient in writing of their removal from the list and record in the patient’s medical records the fact of the removal and the circumstances leading to it.
Your Rights and Responsibilities
Help us to help you
We aim to provide the best possible service to our patients and hope you will feel that we achieve that aim.
The care of your health is a partnership between yourself and the primary health care team. The success of that partnership depends on an understanding of each other’s needs and co-operation between us.
- You will be greeted courteously
- You have a right to confidentiality in line with our Confidentiality policy
- You have the right to see your medical records subject to the limitations of the law
- You will be seen the same day, if your problem is urgent
- You will be seen by your doctor whenever possible
- You will be informed if there will be a delay of more than 20 minutes for your appointment
- You will be referred to a consultant when your GP thinks it necessary
- You will be given the result of any test or investigation on request or at your next appointment. More information can be found on the Test Results page
- Your repeat prescription will be ready for collection two working days after your request. For more information, please view the Prescriptions page
- Your suggestions and comments about the services offered will be considered sympathetically and any complaint dealt with quickly. To make a complaint, or for more information on the process, please visit the Suggestions, Comments and Complaints page
- Please treat all surgery staff with the same respect – we are all just doing our job
- Do not ask for information about anyone other than yourself.
- Tell us of any change of name or address, so that our records are accurate. You can inform us of any changes to your details by completing the Change of Personal Details form
- Only request an urgent appointment if appropriate. Home visits should only be requested if you are too ill to attend the surgery and night visits should be for emergencies only – the doctor on-call will be at work as usual the next day. For more information, please view the Appointments page
- Please cancel your appointment if you are unable to attend. You can do this online.
- Please be punctual but be prepared to wait if your own consultation is delayed by an unexpected emergency
- Please allow sufficient time for your consultant’s letter of the results of any tests to reach us
- You will be advised of the usual length of time to wait
- Use the tear-off slip to request your repeat prescription whenever possible. Please attend for review when asked, before your next prescription is due
- Do let us know whenever you feel we have not met our responsibility to you
- We would, of course, be pleased to hear when you feel praise is due