Your doctor and other NHS healthcare professionals caring for you need to keep records about your health and any treatment and care you receive from the NHS. These records help to ensure that you receive the best possible care and healthcare professionals have the most accurate, up-to-date information about you, while any concerns you may have can be properly investigated.
How health records are used
Some of the information on your health record is held centrally and used for statistical purposes. Where this is the case, strict measures ensure that individual patients cannot be identified.
Where we need to use identifiable information for essential purposes, we will only ever use this information with your consent, unless the law requires us to pass on the information. We will ensure that appropriate information is available if you see another health professional or are referred to a specialist or another part of the NHS.
Who information is shared with
We may share information with the following main partners:
- NHS hospital trusts and other care providers
- Ambulance services
- Clinical commissioning groups
- NHS England
- NHS commissioning support units
- External suppliers providing healthcare services to the NHS
We may also share your information with:
- Social services
- Education services
- Local authorities
- Voluntary sector providers
- Private sector providers
- Police and judicial services
Under the Data Protection Act (1998) all staff working for the NHS have a legal duty to keep personal information confidential. We never disclose your information to any third party without your permission unless there are exceptional circumstances (such as when the health and safety of others is at risk or it is required by law). Anyone who receives information from us is legally bound to keep it confidential.
Access to your health records
If you want to view your health records, you may not need to make a formal application. Healthcare professionals can informally show you your own records, and you can make an informal request during a consultation or by phoning the surgery.
Under the Data Protection Act 1998 you have a legal right to apply for access to health information held about you, and you don’t have to give a reason.
You should submit your request in writing or by email to your GP, and we will then decide whether your request can be approved. A request can be refused if, for example, it is believed that releasing the information may cause serious harm to your physical or mental health or that of another person.
Under the Data Protection Act, requests for access to records should be met within 40 days. However, government guidance for healthcare organisations says they should aim to respond within 21 days.
Lancashire and South Cumbria has been chosen by NHS England to be a national pilot for the digitisation of Medical Records. Scanning these paper based records and making them digital will enable better utilisation of space, creating more clinical space, staff areas, multi team space and video hubs, removing the need for some practices to build extensions. In addition it will also make your record more easily and speedily accessible to clinical staff within your practice.
Your complete GP medical record will be digital and stored in a secure cloud based clinical system (only accessible by your GP practice) with the paper based records being securely destroyed following BS EN 15713:2009 Secure destruction of confidential material. Your GP will still be able to access your records easily within this system. The scanning and destruction of the paper records will follow strict data protection guidelines adhered to by the NHS. As with paper based records, digital records are stored for the durations specified in the Records Management Codes of Practice for Health and Social Care. For GP patient records, this states that they may be destroyed 10 years after the patient’s death if they are no longer needed.
If you wish to discuss the scheme, please inform the Practice direct either by letter or via our secure online form.