Medical Information & Data Protection Act

Medical Information & Data Protection Act

We need to keep information about you so that we can provide the best possible health care. Details of your name, address, date of birth, next of kin as well as your medical history are kept on our computer records and on paper records. These records include contacts you have had with the surgery, clinical notes I hospital letters, laboratory and x-ray results, casualty attendance and details of attendances at other doctors surgeries.

Having accurate up-to-date information means that doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals can give the correct sort of care and treatment.

We have a legal responsibility to keep all this information held about you confidential. Our obligations (and that of other health professionals who work with us) are set out in the Data Protection Act 2018. This Act also sets out your own rights.

There may be times when we need to share information about you with other people who are involved in your medical care. The sharing of medical information is covered in the Act. It states that the sharing of sensitive, patient-related information is allowable for medical purposes as long as it is shared with a health professional – e.g. GP, nurse or health visitor, or a person who, though not a health professional, has a responsibility to preserve confidentiality (e.g. practice administration staff).

Information from your medical records is sometimes requested for use in research and statistical analysis. In the Data Protection Act the use of information for medical purposes is defined to include preventative medicine, medical diagnosis, medical research, the provision of care and treatment and the management of health care services. Wherever possible the gathering of information used for such purposes is done anonymously. This information can then be passed on to organisations such as universities, research institutions, hospitals and other places with a legitimate interest in the information.

This sort of information is very important as it can be used to measure how well we are addressing health issues. Where medical information is used for this purpose, strict measures are taken to ensure that individual patients cannot be identified. Sometimes however, it is not possible to use anonymous information, but in this event any release of information would only take place with your consent, unless the law required that it be passed on in the interest of public health.

Everyone working within the NHS and within our own surgery has a legal duty to keep information about you confidential.

We will not disclose information about you to any third parties without your permission unless there are exceptional circumstances such as when the health and safety of yourself or others is at risk or where the law requires information to be passed on. Sometimes other people outside the NHS (e.g. Social Services) may be involved in your care. We may need to share information about you so that we can all work together for your benefit. This will only be done where there is a genuine need.

Anyone receiving information from us is also under a legal duty to keep it confidential.

Patients have the right to object to information being disclosed to a third party in a form that identifies them, even if this is someone who might provide essential healthcare. Please advise the Practice Manager Julie Meakin in writing if you would like an objection noted on your records.

Patients have the right to see their medical records and are now able to use online services such as the NHS App or Patient Access to view them.


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Consider the range of services available to you and use the NHS responsibly.

Be prepared to care for yourself with a well-stocked medicine cabinet and plenty of rest.

  • cough or cold
  • upset stomach
  • pain or headache
  • cuts and grazes
  • sore throat (but if for two weeks or more contact your GP)

For health advice, visit nhs.uk.

Your local Pharmacist is a trained medicine expert who can dispense and advise you on the safe use of prescription, repeat prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Most pharmacies are open until late and at weekends, and they all have a private area where you can talk to a Pharmacist in confidence. You don’t need to book an appointment to see a Pharmacist.

  • Ask for advice on ailments, medicines and healthier living
  • Queries about medication, dosage, type or suitability plus urgent requests or if related to hospital discharge
  • repeat prescription
  • sore eyes (but if persists go to optician)
  • runny nose
  • diarrhoea
  • bite or sting

GPs deal with a whole range of health problems including:

  • Conditions that can't be treated with over the counter medication or advice from a Pharmacist
  • Coughs lasting more than three weeks
  • New moles appearing or existing moles changing shape, size or colour

They also provide health education, offer advice on smoking and diet, run clinics, give vaccinations and carry out simple surgical operations. A range of health care professionals work at GP practices, including GPs, nurses, healthcare assistants, practice managers, receptionists and other staff. Practices also work closely with health visitors, midwives, mental health services and social care services. If the health professional you see cannot deal with a problem, then you’ll usually be referred to a hospital for tests, treatment, or to see a consultant with specialist knowledge.

NHS 111 is there for you when you have a healthcare need that is not life threatening. It is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

  • If you think you need to go to hospital
  • If you don’t know the most suitable place to go or call
  • If you don’t have a GP to call or if your GP practice is closed
  • If you need advice or reassurance about what to do

Available 24 hours a day, every day. Click here for NHS 111 online.

If you have a non-life-threatening illness or injury, there are lots of ways you can access advice and care without going to an Emergency Department. This allows emergency staff to concentrate on people with serious, life-threatening conditions and will save you a potentially long wait. Visit for same day, urgent, minor injuries or illness when your GP practice is unavailable, such as such as sprains and suspected broken bones

  • fractures and lacerations
  • insect and animal bites
  • stitches (sutures)
  • dressing care
  • minor cuts and bruises
  • minor burns and strains

Emergency department or call 999. Only for very serious or life-threatening situations. If you are unsure, call NHS 111.

Click here to find out when to call 999.