Patient Confidentiality & Data Protection
At the Blossom Gate Medical Centre, we take the wellness and care of our patients with the utmost of responsibility and to this end ensure that we maintain the highest standards of medical care for our patients. We understand that a General Practice is a trusted community governed by an ethic of privacy and confidentiality. Our practices are consistent with the Medical Council Guidelines and the privacy principles of the Data Protections Acts. We see our patients’ consent as being the key factor in dealing with their health information. This statement is about making consent meaningful by advising you of our policies and practices in dealing with your medical information.
Managing your Information
- In order to provide for your care, we need to collect and keep information about you and your health on our records.
- We retain your information securely
- We will only ask for and keep information that is necessary. We will attempt to keep it as accurate and up to-date as possible. We will explain the need for any information we ask for and if you are not sure why it is needed we are happy to explain further.
- We ask you to inform us about any relevant changes that we should know about. This includes things such as any new treatments or investigations being carried out that we are not aware of. Please also inform us of a change of address, name and telephone numbers.
- All persons in the practice (not already covered by a professional confidentiality code) sign a confidentiality agreement that explicitly makes clear their duties in relation to personal health information and the consequences of breaching that duty.
- Access to patient’s records is regulated to ensure that they are used only to the extent necessary to enable the secretary or manager to perform their tasks for the proper functioning of the practice.
In this regard, patients should understand that practice staff may have access to their records for;
Identifying and printing repeat prescriptions for patients. These are then reviewed and signed by the GP.
- Generating a social welfare certificate for the patient. These are then checked and signed by the GP.
- Typing referral letters to hospital consultants or allied health professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists and dieticians.
- Opening letters from hospitals and consultants. The letters could be appended to a patient’s paper file or scanned into their electronic patient record.
- Scanning clinical letters, radiology reports and any other documents not available in electronic format.
- Downloading laboratory results and Out of Hours Co-op Reports and performing integration of these results into the electronic patient record.
- Photocopying or printing documents for referral to consultants, attending an antenatal clinic or when a patient is changing GP.
- Checking for a patient if a hospital or consultant letter is returned or if a laboratory or radiology result is returned, in order to schedule a conversation with the GP.
- When a patient makes contact with the Practice to ascertain if they are due for any preventative services, such as vaccination, ante natal visit, contraceptive pill check, cervical smear test etc.
- Handling, printing, photocopying and postage of medico legal and life assurance reports and associated documents.
Disclosure of Information to Other Health and Social Professional
On occasion we need to pass some of this information to other health and social care professionals in order to provide you with the treatment and service you need. Only the relevant part of your record will be released. The other professionals are also legally bound to treat your information with the same duty of care and confidence that we do.
Disclosures Required or Permitted Under Law
- The Law provides that in certain instances personal information (including health information) can be disclosed, for example, in the case of infectious diseases. Disclosure of Information to Employers, Insurance Companies and Solicitors In general, work related Medical Certificates from your GP will only provide a confirmation that you are unfit for work with an indication of when you will be fit to resume work. Where it is considered necessary to provide additional information, we will discuss that with you. However, Social Welfare Certificates of Incapacity for Work must include the medical reason you are unfit to work.
- In the case of disclosures to insurance companies or requests made to solicitors for your records, we will only release the information with your signed consent.
Your right of Access to your Health Information
You have the right of access to all the personal information held about you by this practice. If you wish to see your records, in most cases the quickest way is to discuss this with your doctor who will outline the information held on record with you. You can make a formal written access request to the practice and the matter will be dealt with formally. Please note there may be a charge of up to €6.35 where a formal request is made.
Transferring to another practice
If you decide at any time and for whatever reason to transfer to another practice, we will facilitate that decision by making available to your new doctor a copy of your records on receipt of your signed consent from your new doctor. For medico-legal reasons we will also retain a copy of your records in this practice for an appropriate period of time which may exceed eight years.
*This is an approved privacy practice statement by the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP). The ICGP is the professional body for General Practice in Ireland.