ATTENTION - THIS UPDATE INCLUDES IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) AND YOUR INFORMATION - PLEASE READ CAREFULLY
Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and your information
The ICO recognises the unprecedented challenges the NHS and other health professionals are facing during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The ICO also recognise that 'Public bodies may require additional collection and sharing of personal data to protect against serious threats to public health.'
The Government have also taken action in respect of this and on 20th March 2020 the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care issued a Notice under Regulation 3(4) of The Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 requiring organisations such as GP Practices to use your information to help GP Practices and other healthcare organisations to respond to and deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In order to look after your healthcare needs during this difficult time, we may urgently need to share your personal information, including medical records, with clinical and non-clinical staff who belong to organisations that are permitted to use your information and need to use it to help deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. This could (amongst other measures) consist of either treating you or a member of your family and enable us and other healthcare organisations to monitor the disease, assess risk and manage the spread of the disease.
Please be assured that we will only share information and health data that is necessary to meet yours and public healthcare needs.
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has also stated that these measures are temporary and will expire on 30th September 2020 unless a further extension is required. Any further extension will be communicated via an update to this Privacy Notice.
Please also note that the data protection and electronic communication laws do not stop us from sending public health messages to you, either by phone, text or email as these messages are not direct marketing.
It may also be necessary, where the latest technology allows us to do so, to use your information and health data to facilitate digital consultations and diagnoses and we will always do this with your security in mind.
If you are concerned about how your information is being used, please contact our DPO using the contact details provided in this Privacy Notice.
It is important that the NHS keeps accurate and up to date records about your health so that those supporting you can give you the best possible advice, treatment and care. All staff sign a confidentiality agreement as part of their contract of employment.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new law that applies from the 25th May 2018 and determines how your personal data is processed and kept safe and the legal rights that you have in relation to your own data.
So what does this mean for patients? The GDPR sets out the key principles about processing personal data.
- Data must be processed lawfully, fairly and transparently
- It must be collected for specific, explicit and legitimate purposes
- It must be limited to what is necessary for the purposes for which it is processed
- Information must be accurate and kept up to date
- Data must be held securely
- It can only be retained for as long as it is necessary for the reasons it was collected
There are also stronger rights for patients regarding the information that Practices hold about them. These include:
- Being informed about how their data is used
- Patients having access to their own data
- Patients can ask to have incorrect information changed
- Restrict how their data is used
- Move their patient data from one health organisation to another
- The right to object to their patient information being processed (in certain circumstances)
To comply with this new regulation, we have reviewed our processes, procedures and protocols updating many of these to comply with the changes.
One of the core changes sees an update of our Fair Processing Notice (sometimes known as a Privacy Statement). This statement discloses the way we gather, use, disclose, and manage the information we hold about you . It fulfils our legal requirement to protect your privacy.
Click here for a copy of our updated Fair Processing Notice. This is also available at request from Mattishall Reception.
The NHS Business Services Authority has also issued a Privacy Statement regarding the way in which that organisation manages the information it receives from GP Practices and Pharmacies on the prescriptions that are sent to them to fund the medication and appliances that are dispensed to you.
Click here for a copy of the Privacy Statement from NHS Business Services Authority.
One of the other changes linked to the new guidelines relates to data subject access requests (SARs). An individual can make a SAR to any organisation that they believe is processing their personal data. This request must be in writing or E Mail. We have also created a form for patients to complete. Under the new guidance, responses will be made within one calendar month. An extension of 2 months can be allowed if necessary taking into account the complexity of the request. A fee can no longer be charged unless the request is manifestly unfounded or excessive, in which case a fee may be charged or the request refused.
We have updated our Practice policy on subject access requests. The form to complete can be requested from reception.
If you have any questions around how we collect, manage and share your data, please speak with our Data Protection Officer, Howard Green at South Norfolk Healthcare CIC who can be contacted on 07879 883045 or via email email@example.com