At every appointment patients tell us secrets. Secrets which they don't want anyone else to know, not even their own families. We want you to feel comfortable in discussing issues that relate to your health with your Doctor whether these be matters relating to sex, sexuality, relationships, mental illness, work, drugs, drinking etc
Our strict duty of confidentiality to all our patients is enforced by the General Medical Council. The rules apply to all Doctors, regardless of where they work in the UK.
Confidentiality is just as an important issue for young people. If a child under 16 is fully competent to understand and make informed consent regarding their own health problems, information about that childs medical health of history may not be released to a parent, legal guardian or teacher. Over 16's are responsible for their own lives.
Reception staff are never informed of your confidential consultations. However, they have to access your records to type letters, file incoming hospital post and for a number of administration jobs. They are not allowed to access your notes for any other purpose. Our staff are highly trustworthy people and professional in their attitude. They take responsibility for confidentiality very seriously. They are not allowed to discuss any work related issues outside of the workplace.
The receptionists may ask questions when you make an appointment. They are not being deliberately intrusive but need this information to make sure you receive the most appropriate care.
If you know staff on a personal level and you are worried about the contents of your records, please discuss this with the Doctors or the Practice Manager.
The computer is the modern way to retain medical records and allows us to provide you with a better, safer service. Only the Doctors and staff employed by the Practice can access the data on the computer. Before they can do this each member of staff must sign a confidentiality agreement. Some simple information is sent electronically to the Health Authoritys computer so that the Doctors can be paid for their work. No information is shared with any company outside the NHS unless it has been made anonymous. This is only ever for clinical audit purposes.
Other Professionals caring for you
It helps the Doctors, Nurses, Health visitors and Social Workers who look after you with us, to share information. We won't be involving anyone in your care without your knowledge. If there is any information you don't want the Doctor to tell these co-workers, just mention it to your Doctor.
Reports for other people
There are times when you might need a report from your Doctor for someone who is not looking after you e.g. your employer, an insurance company or your solicitor. We would never provide such report without your signed consent. If we receive a request we will ask for your consent directly. As with sick notes, we always provide the minimum necessary information for their and your purposes. We do not normally answer personal questions about you, which you could answer yourself. If you wish, you have the right to check any of these reports before we send them off. If you have any worries we would recommend that you ask to check them at the time.
Members of your family
If you are unwell, your partner, family or carer will be worried about you. The Doctor can not divulge information to them without your consent. To avoid confusion, you can bring them with you to see the Doctor.
Concerned about a relative?
Occasionally you may be concerned about a relative and unable to persuade them to inform the Doctor about their symptoms, which you think might be important. In such circumstances, you can write to the Doctor or make an appointment. The Doctor will not be able to provide you with information, but may be able to act on the information provided. It is always better to tell the patient that you are sharing this information.
Releasing information without your consent
There are a few situations when Doctors are allowed to release information without your consent. These situations are defined by law. Such information can only be passed to the relevant Health Authorities if you are profoundly mentally ill, have serious infections which can be passed easily to the general public (Not STD), are placing others at risk of death or very serious harm or are at risk of death of very serious harm yourself.
The Doctor would have to make a judgement based on the individuals circumstances before going against your wishes.
To access your Medical records
We want you to feel reassured about the information which we retain about you in your records. You have the right to see your own records to check their accuracy. If you would like to see your records, we need your request in writing with a payment of £10.00. We have 40 days to respond to your request.
We always endeavour to keep your information secure and act appropriately. If we are unable to share information with you please understand that this weill be because we do not have sufficient information to know that you are who you say you are. In these instances we may ask for proof of ID. If you are concerned with information that has been shared please ask for the Assistant/Practice Manager.
Freedom of Information
The ICO has published a new Model Publication Scheme that all public authorities are required to adopt by 1st January 2009.
Model Publication Scheme - further information
Suggestions & Complaints
How to Report a Complaint
If you are in anyway unhappy with the service we have offered, we welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you and offer an explanation or investigate further. You can complain by:
How will the Complaint be dealt with?
We will handle your complaint in a positive and friendly way.
We will acknowledge your complaint within 24 hours, investigate your complaint thoroughly and try to reply to you within 72 hours of receiving the complaint. If we cannot give you a full reply we will tell you when we can.
We will offer you an opportunity to speak to the Patient Services Manager about your complaint or if you prefer, to speak to a Doctor.
We will discuss your compaint at the practice meeting so that we may learn and improve our service. You can request for us not to do this if you would prefer.
Do you need help making your complaint?
If you would like help or support in making your complaint you might like to ask someone in your family or a friend to help you. We would welcome a family member or friend attending with you to make your complaint, or if you are making your complaint in writing, they may be able to help put your points together.
Please note the Practice must ensure strict adherence to the rule of medical confidentiality. We therefore cannot provide confidential information without appropriate authority if you are not the patient in question.
What to do if you are still not satisfied
If you are not satisfied with how your complaint has been handled or with the outcome, you can contact the Patient Advice & Liaison Services (PALS) at Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) either in writing or by phone.
The Practices complaints procedure does not affect your rights to make a formal complaint directly to the Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group.
For further information see the page on PALS.
The Practice Complaints Leaflet
Our Responsibilities to You:
- Courtesy: You will be treated with the utmost courtesy & respect.
- Confidentiality: Is assured at all times.
- Choice of doctor: You will be able to see the doctor of your choice in the next available appointment (may not be same day).
- Choice of day: You will be able to pre book an appointment with the doctor of your choice up to 4 weeks in advance.
- Waiting times: You will be seen as near to your appointment time as possible unless there is an unavoidable delay.
- Cancellations: If the doctor is called out you will be informed and offered an appointment with another doctor, the option to wait or an appointment on another day.
- Explanation: You will receive an explanation about your illness, medication and a review if appropriate.
- Referrals: If we believe a second opinion is necessary we will make a referral with your agreement.
- Home visits: We will visit you at home if you are too ill or infirm to attend the surgery.
- Feedback: We will listen to your views and suggestions about our services and implement if appropriate.
- Complaints: Your complaints will be responded to by the Doctor or Practice Manager within 7 days.
- Records: You will be permitted access to your health records subject to any limitation and reserve the right to charge a fee to cover costs.
- Urgent appointments: An urgent appointment will be allocated on the same day for conditions deemed clinically urgent.
- New patient health checks: Will be offered to all patients joining the practice.
- Health promotion: We have a wide range of leaflets, booklets and fact sheets available for personal use and information.
Your Responsibilities to Us:
- Courtesy: We ask you to treat all the staff and patients with courtesy & respect.
- Choice of Doctor: Please remember that a specific doctor may not always be available due to other commitments.
- Appointment times: Please attend on time.
- Non-attendance: We ask that you phone to cancel an appointment rather than fail to attend.
- Repeat prescriptions: Please allow at least 48 hours for these to be processed. We ask also that you check your cupboards before requesting a repeat.
- Prescriptions: Please be aware that the doctor will not always give you a prescription if they do not deem it necessary.
- Home visits: Please do not request these for social convenience, only for clinical need.
- Out of Hours: Please only consult the out of hours service for urgent requests, not routine problems.
- Keep us informed: Please ensure we have your up to date address and contact numbers incase we need to contact you urgently.
- One patient one appointment: Please do not take other people into a consultation with you who also need advice, unless they also have an appointment booked.
- Consultation time: Most appointments are booked for 10 minutes, some specifically longer for investigations and procedures. Please be mindful of how much time the doctor can offer you to avoid the clinic running late.
- Your health: Your health is most important to you, please be responsible for maintaining it and following the advice of the professionals.