Data Awareness

Patient Confidentiality


Your medical record is a life-long history of your consultations, illnesses, investigations, prescriptions and other treatments.  The professional relationship with the patient sits at the heart of good general practice and is based on mutual trust and confidentiality. The story of that relationship over the years is your medical record.

You have a right to keep your personal health information confidential between you and your Doctor.  This applies to everyone over the age of 16 years and in certain cases to those under 16.  The law does impose a few exceptions to this rule but apart from those (listed below) you have a right to know who has access to your medical records.

All our practice staff have full access to the computerised medical records system.  They are governed by strict codes of confidentiality and will not disclose health information without your consent.  It is our policy to have a single medical and nursing record for each patient.  We firmly believe that this offers the best opportunity for delivering the highest quality of care from a modern primary care team.

The practice must keep the primary care trust up to date with all registration changes and must notify them of certain procedures that we carry out on patients under Enhanced Services where we are paid for performing these procedures.  Local authorities and government agencies such as social services and the benefits agency may require medical reports on you from time to time.  These may not include your written consent, but we will assume that you wish us to complete these reports in your best interest.  Failure to co-operate with these agencies can lead to patients' loss of benefits or other support.

Life assurance companies frequently ask for medical reports on prospective clients from their GP.  GPs must disclose all relevant medical conditions in these reports. You can ask to see the report before it is sent back to the company and can instruct us not to make a full disclosure; we must then inform the insurance company of your instructions.

Data Protection

At Scarborough Medical Group, we store all patients' medical records on our practice computer system, SystmOne.  The NHS is committed to developing electronic patients records (EPR's) so health information can be shared between the clinicians responsible for your care.

Your GP is responsible for the accuracy and safe-keeping of your medical records and you can help us keep them accurate by informing us of any change in your name, address, telephone numbers etc and by ensuring that we have full details of your important medical history.  We take regular action to protect your medical records from accidental loss or damage.

We are required by law to allow you access to your computer and written medical records.  Please contact our Practice Manager for further advice.  All such requests must be made in writing.  We are allowed to charge a small fee to cover our administration and photocopying charges.

There is a balance between your privacy and good health care.  We will normally share some information with other health professionals involved with your health care unless you ask us not to.  This could include doctors, nurses, therapists, pharmacists and technicians involved in your investigation or treatment.  These professionals may work for a variety of organisations such as the local acute and community NHS trusts, NHS England, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), social services or private hospitals.

We are required by law to notify the government of certain diseases (eg meningitis) for public health reasons. Law courts can also require GPs to disclose medical records to them.  Doctors cannot refuse to co-operate with the courts without risking serious punishment.  We are also often asked for medical reports by solicitors; these will always be accompanied by the patient's written consent for us to disclose information.  We will not normally release any details about other people contained in your records (eg wife children etc) unless we also have their signed consent.

Limited information is shared with health authority including NHS England to help them organise national programs for public health (eg breast screening) and to monitor NHS activity (eg waiting lists).

Freedom of Information

How to make a freedom of information request

You have the right to ask to see recorded information held by public authorities.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act (FOISA) give you the right to see information.

If you ask for environmental information, your request will be handled under the Environmental Regulations (EIRs) or Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations (EISRs).

Environmental information includes things like carbon emissions or the environment’s effect on human health.

For more information visit 

Practice Leaflet: SMG Freedom Of Information Leaflet

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