What is GDPR?
GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulations and is a piece of legislation that superseded the Data Protection Act 1998 on Friday 25th May 2018. It not only applies to the UK and EU; it covers anywhere in the world in which data about EU citizens is processed.
The GDPR is similar to the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998 (which the practice already complies with), but strengthens many of the DPA’s principles. The main changes are:
- Practices must comply with subject access requests.
- Where we need your consent to process data, this consent must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous.
- There are new, special protections for patient data.
- The Information Commissioner’s Office must be notified within 72 hours of a data breach.
- Higher fines for data breaches – up to 20 million euros.
What GDPR will mean for Patients.
The GDPR sets out the key principles about processing personal data, for staff or patients;
- Data must be processed lawfully, fairly and transparently.
- It must be collected for specific, explicit and legitimate purposes.
- It must be limited to what is necessary for the purposes for which it is processed.
- Information must be accurate and kept up to date.
- Data must be held securely.
- It can only be retained for as long as is necessary for the reasons it was collected.
There are also stronger rights for patients regarding the information that practices hold about them. These include;
- Being informed about how their data is used.
- Patients to have access to their own data.
- Patients can ask to have incorrect information changed.
- Restrict how their data is used.
- Move their patient data from one health organisation to another.
- The right to object their patient information being processed (in certain circumstances).
In order to do their jobs, our staff will access your health records to:
- Book/cancel appointments
- Appointment reminders
- Direct contact to discuss treatment and appointments
- Referrals to hospitals/specialists with your consent
- Patient care
What is “patient data”?
Patient data is information that relates to a single person, such as his/her diagnosis, name, age, earlier medical history etc.
What is “consent”?
Consent is permission from a patient – an individual’s consent is defined as “any freely given specific and informed indication of his/her wishes by which the data subject signifies his/her agreement to personal data relating to him/her being processed.”
The changes in GDPR mean that we must get explicit permission from patients when using your data. This is to protect your right to privacy, and we may ask you to provide consent to do certain things, like contact you or record certain information about you for your clinical records.
Individuals also have the right to withdraw their consent at any time.
Freedom of Information
Information about the General Practioners and the practice required for disclosure under this act can be made available to the public. All requests for such information should be made to the practice manager.
Access to Records
In accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and Access to Health Records Act, patients may request to see their medical 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 consent unless we are legally obliged to do so.
Statement of Intent (Online Services)
New contractual requirements came into force from 1st April 2014 requiring that GP practices should make available a statement of intent in relation to the following IT developments:-
- Electronic appointment booking
- On-line booking of repeat prescriptions
- Summary care record
- GP2GP transfers
- Patient access to records
Please find below the full details of the statement of intent:
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.