The Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) requires a clear direction on policy for security of information held within the practice and provides individuals with a right of access to a copy of information held about them.
The Clinic needs to collect personal information about people with whom it deals in order to carry out its business and provide its services. Such people include patients, employees (nil currently but potentially in the future), suppliers and other business contacts. The information we hold will include personal, sensitive and corporate information. In addition, we may occasionally be required to collect and use certain types of such personal information to comply with the requirements of the law. No matter how it is collected, recorded and used (e.g. on a computer or on paper) this personal information must be dealt with properly to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act 2018.
The lawful and proper treatment of personal information by the practice is extremely important to the success of our business and in order to maintain the confidence of our service users and employees. We ensure that the practice treats personal information lawfully and correctly.
This policy provides direction on security against unauthorised access, unlawful processing, and loss or destruction of personal information.
1.0 Data Protection Principles
We support fully and comply with the six principles of the Act which are summarised below:
- Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully.
- Personal data shall be obtained/processed for specific lawful purposes, and will only be used for the purpose for which it was collected.
- Personal data held must be adequate, relevant and not excessive.
- Personal data must be accurate and kept up to date, and every reasonable step will be taken to ensure any personal data that is inaccurate is erased or rectified without delay.
- Personal data shall not be kept for longer than necessary.
- Personal data shall be processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data.
2.0 Employee Responsibilities
All employees will, through appropriate training and responsible management:
- Comply at all times with the above Data Protection Act principles
- Observe all forms of guidance, codes of practice and procedures about the collection and use of personal information
- Understand fully the purposes for which the practice uses personal information
- Collect and process appropriate information, and only in accordance with the purposes for which it is to be used by the practice to meet its service needs or legal requirements
- Ensure the information is correctly input into the practice’s systems
- Ensure the information is destroyed (in accordance with the provisions of the Act) when it is no longer required
- On receipt of a request from an individual for information held about them by or on behalf of, immediately notify the practice manager
- Understand that breaches of this Policy may result in disciplinary action, including dismissal
3.0 Practice Responsibilities
The practice will:
- Ensure that there is always one person with overall responsibility for data protection. Currently this person is Dr Punater, should you have any questions about data protection.
- Maintain its registration with the Information Commissioner’s Office
- Ensure that all subject access requests are dealt with as per our Access to Medical Records policy
- Provide training for all team members who handle personal information
- Provide clear lines of report and supervision for compliance with data protection and also have a system for breach reporting
- Carry out regular checks to monitor and assess new processing of personal data and to ensure the practice’s notification to the Information Commissioner is updated to take account of any changes in processing of personal data
- Develop and maintain DPA procedures to include: roles and responsibilities, notification, subject access, training and compliance testing
- Display information on the website explaining to patients the practice policy surrounding information.
- Take steps to ensure that individual patient information is not deliberately or accidentally released or (by default) made available or accessible to a third party without the patient’s consent, unless otherwise legally compliant. This will include training on confidentiality issues, DPA principles, working security procedures, and the application of best practice in the workplace.
- Undertake prudence in the use of, and testing of, arrangements for the backup and recovery of data in the event of an adverse event.
- Maintain a system of “Significant Event Reporting” through a no-blame culture to capture and address incidents which threaten compliance.
- Include DPA issues as part of the practice general procedures for the management of risk.
- Ensure that all aspects of confidentiality and information security are promoted to all staff.
- Remain committed to the security of patient and staff records.
The Clinic does NOT need to appoint a DPO. The practice is not a public body and will not be processing data on a “large scale”.
DATA PROTECTION ACT / GDPR – PATIENT INFORMATION
We need to hold personal information about you on our computer system and in paper records (if any) to help us to look after your medical needs, and your doctor and the Practice as a whole is responsible for their accuracy and safe-keeping. Please help to keep your record up to date by informing us of any changes to your circumstances. The data is held securely on our encrypted computer system – it is not accessible by members of the public and only authorised individuals have access to it. Information is backed up routinely but is not accessible via “the cloud”.
- The data held can include but is not limited to:
- Demographic details including your name, address, DOB etc
- Details about your past and present medical conditions and treatments
- Notes about conversations and/or incidents relating to your care
- Records on Consent to treatment
We will normally retain the records on our computer system in case of any issues in the future – this is normally the case for 10 years after someone has passed away.
Doctors in the practice have access to your medical records to enable them to do their jobs. From time to time information may be shared with others involved in your care if it is necessary. Anyone with access to your record is properly trained in confidentiality issues and is governed by both a legal and contractual duty to keep your details private.
We may share medical records with health professionals who are involved in providing you with care and treatment (e.g. a Private Consultant if you are being referred). This is on a need to know basis and event by event.
We do not share records with national databases or the Summary Care Record.
We do not use your information for research or marketing purposes.
We do not store payment / credit card information when you have made payments – transaction history is kept for tracking purposes (and for refunds etc if required) but these are held by our payment provider, Sum Up.
We do share information when the law requires us to do, for instance when we are inspected by a body with statutory powers, reporting certain infectious illnesses under the law or for safeguarding vulnerable people when required to do so.
We do share information when requested to do so by a Court Order.
In some circumstances as above we may be required by law to release your details to statutory or other official bodies, for example if a court order is presented, or in the case of public health issues. In other circumstances you may be required to give written consent before information is released – such as for medical reports for insurance, solicitors etc. To ensure your privacy, we will not disclose information over the telephone or fax unless we are sure that we are talking to you. Information will not be disclosed to family, friends, or spouses unless we have prior written consent, and we do not leave messages with others.
You have a right to see your records if you wish. Please ask at us if you would like further details and our patient information leaflet. An appointment will be required. In some circumstances a fee may be payable but such charges are only made according to the prevailing legal framework and in many / most instances there is no fee.
If you do not agree for personal data to be held in this way please discuss this with one of the Partners. However, this may limit the treatment we can provide to you.
The practice has other resources providing more detailed privacy information / privacy notices. Please ask us should you wish to have this information.