GDPR in relation to research within GP practices
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force on 25th May 2018. There were previous concerns surrounding GDPR and the impact that would have on the way we deliver healthcare research, but the Health Research Authority (HRA) has since issued guidance regarding this.
Consent to use mobile phone numbers and emails for correspondence
Guidance for patients and service users
The practice may use email and text messaging to contact you with:
- Appointment reminders
- Appointment letters
- Individual invites to screening, medication reviews, vaccination appointments
- Test result notifications/advice to call the practice where action is needed
- Friends and family test surveys
- Interactive messages with the ability to confirm/cancel appointments.
You can choose not to receive emails and text messages from us. If you make this decision it will be noted on your record so other members of staff know how you wish to be contacted. You can change your mind at any time by informing us.
Please see below, 'How We Use Your Information', for details about how we store, process, and share this with other care organisations.
There are benefits to using email and text messages to communicate with your health and care provider as it:
- Provides an easy, low cost way for you to contact your health and care provider
- Saves you time waiting on the phone to get through e.g. to the GP practice or hospital appointment line
- Supports people with hearing difficulties and other sensory impairments
Things to consider
You should consider the following before agreeing to use emails and text messages for communications with your health and care provider:
- Does anyone else have access to your phone or email and if so, would you be happy for them to see any messages you may receive?
- Health and care providers use encrypted emails which means that no one can see or tamper with the data while it is being transferred across the network or internet. Your own emails to us may not be encrypted.
- You are responsible for ensuring that you provide the correct email address and mobile number. Please inform us of any changes. This will ensure you don’t miss any information and it avoids information going astray should it be sent to the wrong email or phone number.
Be careful of spam texts or emails that might come from people posing as a health or care organisation. We will always make it clear that the email or text message is from us and will provide information in advance about what you may be texted or emailed about.
If you are unable to receive email/text messages or choose not to, then you can continue to use other communication methods e.g. phone calls.
Fair Processing Notice
As your registered GP Practice, we are the Data Controller for any personal data that we hold about you. The Data Protection Officer is Bex Lovewell, Sentinel Healthcare SouthWest Community Interest Company, Unit 1, 5 Research Way, Plymouth Science Park, Plymouth, PL6 8BT email@example.com.
How we use your Information
This notice briefly explains why the doctor’s surgery collects information about you, and how that information may be used.
The health care professionals who provide you with care, maintain records about your health and any treatment or care you have received previously (e.g. NHS Trust, GP Surgery, Walk-in clinic, etc.). These records help to provide you with the best possible healthcare.
Records may be held in electronic or manual (written down) format, and may include the following information:
- Details about you, such as name, address, date of birth, phone numbers and next of kin
- Any contact the surgery has had with you, such as appointments, clinic visits, emergency appointments, etc.
- Notes and reports about your health
- Details about your treatment and care
- Results of investigations, such as laboratory tests, x-rays, etc.
- Relevant information from other health professionals, relatives or those who care for you and know you well
To ensure you receive the best possible care, your records are used to facilitate the care you receive. Information held about you may be used to help protect the health of the public and to help us manage the NHS. Information may be used for clinical audit to monitor the quality of the service provided.
Where we do this, we take strict measures to ensure that individual patients cannot be identified.
Some of this information will be held centrally and used for statistical purposes. Where we do this, we take strict measures to ensure that individual patients cannot be identified.
Sometimes your information may be requested to be used for research purposes – the surgery will always obtain your consent before releasing the information.
Should you have any concerns about how your information is managed at the surgery, please contact the Practice Manager to discuss how the disclosure of your personal information can be limited. There is a Summary Care Record opt-out form on request.
How do we maintain the confidentiality of your records?
Every member of staff who works for an NHS organisation has a legal obligation to keep information about you confidential. Anyone who receives information from an NHS organisation has a legal duty to keep it confidential.
We maintain our duty of confidentiality to you at all times. 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 (i.e. life or death situations, safeguarding issues), or where the law requires information to be passed on.
Third Party Processors
In order to deliver the best possible service, the practice will share data (where required) with other NHS bodies such as other GP practices and hospitals. In addition the practice will use carefully selected third party service providers. When we use a third party service provider to process data on our behalf then we will always have an appropriate agreement in place to ensure that they keep the data secure, that they do not use or share information other than in accordance with our instructions and that they are operating appropriately. Examples of functions that may be carried out by third parties includes:
Companies that provide IT services & support, including our core clinical systems; systems which manage patient facing services (such as our website and service accessible through the same); data hosting service providers; systems which facilitate appointment bookings or electronic prescription services; document management services etc.
Delivery services (for example if we were to arrange for delivery of any medicines to you).
Payment providers (if for example you were paying for a prescription or a service such as travel vaccinations).
Who are our partner organisations?
Health and social care services in Devon and Cornwall have developed a system to share patient data efficiently and quickly and, ultimately, improve the care you receive.
This shared system is called the Devon and Cornwall Care Record.
It's important that anyone treating you has access to your shared record so they have all the information they need to care for you. This applies to your routine appointments and also in urgent situations such as going to A&E, calling 111, or going to an out-of-hours appointment.
It's also quicker for staff to access a shared record, than to try to contact other staff by phone or email.
Only authorised health and care staff can access the Devon and Cornwall Care Record and the information they see is carefully checked so that it relates to their job. Also, systems do not share all your data - just data that services have agreed is necessary to include.
For more information about the Devon and Cornwall Care Record, please go to: https://devonandcornwallcarerecord.nhs.uk.
We may also have to share your information, subject to strict agreements on how it will be used, with the following organisations:
- NHS Trusts
- Specialist Trusts
- Independent Contractors such as dentists, opticians, pharmacists
- Private Sector Providers
- Voluntary Sector Providers
- Ambulance Trusts
- Clinical Commissioning Groups
- Social Care Services
- Local Authorities
- Education Services
- Fire and Rescue Services
- Other 'data processors' such as DELT GPIT services
Access to your Information
You have a right under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to access/view what information the surgery holds about you, and to have it amended or removed should it be inaccurate. This is known as ‘the right of subject access’. If you would like to make a ‘subject access request’ (SAR) please do so in writing and we will look to get an electronic copy to you within the statutory timeframe.
How we deal with inaccuracies in your Medical Records
If you receive your medical records and would like to dispute the accuracy or have queries regarding the content, you may object or opt to have certain entries deleted.
As a patient at the practice, you can apply your UK GDPR rights of:
- Rectification (Article 16 UK GDPR)
- Erasure (Article 17 UK GDPR)
- Restriction of processing (Article 18 UK GDPR)
- Data portability (Article 20 UK GDPR)
- Right to object (Article 21 UK GDPR)
If you would like to request amendments to your records, please contact the medical centre via Klinik: https://access.klinik.co.uk/contact/okehampton-medical-centre and select the 'update your details' tile. In the text box, enter your name, date of birth and queries/objections with your medical records.
A member of the team will then contact you to investigate further, and the surgery will take necessary action with your records.
Opting out of sharing your data
If you don't want data from your GP record to be collected or shared, you have two options.
You can opt out of sharing identifiable patient data from your GP record, except that which is used for your own care and treatment, by registering a Type 1 Opt-out. You can find out more about registering a Type 1 Opt-out here.
You can opt out of identifiable patient data about you being shared for research and planning by NHS Digital or other organisations by registering a National Data Opt-out. The National Data Opt-out will be applied by NHS Digital in line with the National Data Opt-out policy. Patients can view or change how their information is used via the National Data opt-out at any time by using the online service at: https://www.nhs.uk/your-nhs-data-matters/ or by clicking on "Your Health" in the NHS app, and selecting "Choose if data from your health records is shared for research and planning".
For further information or to register a data opt-out, please click here.
Further information about the way in which the NHS uses personal information and your rights in that respect can be found here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/contact-us/privacy-notice/how-we-use-your-information.
The Information Commissioner’s Office is the Regulator for the GDPR and offers independent advice and guidance on the law and personal data, including your rights and how to access your personal information. For further information, please visit the Information Commissioner’s Office website.