Patient rights and responsibilities
You have a right to expect a high standard of medical care from our practice and we will try at all times to provide the very best care possible within the resources available.
In order to assist us in this we require that you take full responsibility for ensuring that you do not abuse the service. For example, it is your responsibility to ensure that you keep medical appointments and follow the medical advice given.
Very occasionally a practice/patient relationship breaks down completely. In this situation the patient may choose to register with a different practice. The practice also has the right to remove that patient from their list. This would generally only follow a warning that had failed to remedy the situation and we would normally give the patient a specific reason for the removal.
Access to patient information
Confidential patient data will be shared within the practice heath care team and with other health care professionals to whom you are referred for care. Your data may be used by those clinical teams providing your care for the essential purpose of clinical audit.
Confidential patient data may also be required for the broader purposes of public health and audit, research, the provision of health care services, teaching and training. Data disclosed will be kept to the minimum required to serve the purpose and if possible will be anonymised before disclosure.
Confidential and identifiable patient information will not be disclosed otherwise without explicit consent, unless;
- it is a matter of life and death or serious harm to you or to another individual
- it is overwhelmingly in the public interest to do so
- there is a legal obligation to do so.
In all of these circumstances the minimum identifiable information that is essential to serve the purpose may be revealed to someone with a legal entitlement to access the data for that purpose. All individuals with access to your data have a professional and/or contractual duty of confidentiality.
If you are concerned about any of the ways in which your confidential data further information is available from the practice manager. You are entitled to register an objection, which will be respected if this is possible.
Accessing Your Health Records
What is meant by “Accessing Health Records”?
This means that you can see and/or have copies of your health records. These could be those at the hospital, those held by your dentist, pharmacist, optician or GP. They also include records written by health visitors, district nurses and other community staff.
However, although patients have a right to see or have copies of health records, they are not entitled to take possession of the original records, as these are the property of the Department of Health.
Why would I want to access my health records?
You may want to know what’s been written in your health records for many reasons. You do not have to tell anyone the reason why you want to access your health records.
How can I access my health records?
Apply to the Practice Manager.
Are there any date or time restrictions on my health records that I can access?
No. You can request access to any health record that you know exists.
What if I think the record is wrong?
If you think that the information is not accurate you can ask for it to be corrected. If the health professional believes the information to be accurate then it is good practice for them to add a note indicating that you disagree.
If the health professional refuses to make the correction, you can complain to the the Information Commissioner's Office or ICO (please see the contact details below).
Will I have to pay any charges?
- The usual fee is £10 to view the records.
- If your records are held totally in manual form, there will not be a fee if the record has been added to in the last 40 days
- If you require a copy of any information from your health records, then a charge will be made to cover administrative costs. This should not exceed £50. The charge is reviewed annually by the Department of Health.
- Should you be unable to understand the record, either because it is not clearly written or because of technical terms used, you are entitled to an explanation at no additional fee.
How long should it take between the time I ask for access to my records and the time I see them or have copies made?
You should be able to view or have copies of your records within 40 days, but we will endeavour to make them available within 21 days.
What if I am requesting access to records of somebody who has died?
Your rights are different. The duty of confidentiality survives a patient’s death, but you may have good reasons for wanting access because you are:
- The patient’s personal representative
- An executor of their will
- A person granted letters of administration by the probate registry
- A person with a claim arising out of a patient’s death
You can only access health records of someone who has died, that were made after 1st November 1991.
Similar charges will apply as mentioned above.
You can ask for somebody to be present at a viewing, to provide necessary explanation of what is written in the health records.
Can my request be refused?
Yes. Where the record holder feels that it would cause serious harm to the physical or mental health of you or of anyone else, then you may be refused access. If you are refused access for this reason then you have the right to be advised about this refusal together with an explanation.
You may also be refused access where your health records contain information about someone else.
If I am unhappy about how my request for access has been handled, is there anyone I can complain to?
Yes. If you are unhappy about the way we at this practice have handled your request, complain to the Practice Manager. If your complaint is about another NHS organisation, complain directly to that organisation.
Alternatively you can contact the Information Commissioner who can offer advise and guidance. The Information Commissioner can be contacted by telephoning 0303 123 1113 or 01625 545745 or by writing to:
The Information Commissioner's Office
Cheshire SK9 5AF