Access to Records
Accessing your GP-held records via the NHS app or NHS website
As your GP practice, we have been asked to provide you with, no later than 31 October 2023, access to your full medical record going forward via the NHS app (and NHS website) if you have a suitable NHS login
Your GP medical record contains consultation notes based on conversations between you, your GP and their team: medicines prescribed to you; all test results including hospital investigations; allergies; vaccines; and your medical conditions along with documents that may have been sent from local hospitals, clinics or other agencies, eg the police. There is likely to be sensitive and personal information within your medical record.
We are supportive of providing you with access to your record, but we wish to do this safely, make you aware that this is happening and offer you the choice to opt in or out. You may wish to speak with us first to understand what it is that you will see, and the risks which may be involved in having such confidential data either on your smartphone with the NHS app installed or online if other people might have access to that information through your devices. If you are in a difficult or pressured relationship for example, you may prefer your records to remain accessible only to those treating you, with them not appearing on your smartphone or online. Government has been clear that if a patient does not wish to have access, then we do not have to provide it. This is one reason why we have it switched off for the time being.
For those who would like access, we are happy to explain the different levels you might like. Everyone can have access to their medication history and allergies, for example, and will be able to order their repeat prescriptions. It’s also possible to request access to what we call your ‘coded record’ where you can see a list of medical problems and results. You can also request access to the ‘full’ record where you will be able to see everything, including the notes which have been written by doctors, nurses and others involved in your care, at the GP surgery, and elsewhere.
It’s important to remember that these documents may, at times, contain information that could be upsetting, especially if they contain news of a serious condition. It can also be a cause for worry seeing results online when it isn’t clear what the results might mean, and no one is available to ask, as can be the case during the evening or at weekends, for example.
Sometimes people with a mental health condition might prefer not to see documents that remind them of difficult times in their life. Letters from mental health teams sometimes go into detail about past events, and great care would be needed in deciding whether you would want to see these letters. It is possible for individual items to be hidden at your request and we would be happy to talk about any concerns you may have.
Great care is also needed in case private details might cause harm at home, should people in a difficult or pressured relationship be forced to show their medical record to an abusive partner. Anyone in such a position should make this clear to us at the practice, so we can take steps to keep you safe. This might mean removing access through the NHS app for the time being, or through a careful process where we hide sensitive things. We would talk this through with you.
Requesting access – what do I need to do?
The easiest way to get access is to create an NHS login through the NHS app on your smart phone. Although you can also access your GP records through the internet on a computer via https://www.nhsapp.service.nhs.uk/login
If you use the NHS app, you’ll have to set up an account using a unique e-mail address and then ‘authenticate’ yourself to the NHS system to prove you are who you say you are. This will involve confirming your name, date of birth and contact details. The NHS login has several levels of authentication and to gain access to your records you’ll need the highest level of authentication. This generally involves you recording a short video of yourself to prove you are a real person as well as uploading a copy of a suitable identification document. We can bypass this step issuing a third party authorisation if you are struggling, but you will need to have already signed up for online services via our website.
Once you have suitably authenticated yourself to the NHS app and created your NHS login you can approach your practice and ask for access, being mindful of the risks associated with access and the importance of not sharing passwords or having them stored in your smartphone if you think other people might want to see them without your permission. If you have any concerns, please let us know before requesting access.
There is an online form for you to complete, with your NHS login (this will be the email address you used to sign up). The purpose of the form is to specify your level of access and to ensure your understanding and agreement of your responsibilities and the risks associated with online access. It may be that the practice wishes to contact you to discuss your request if there are any concerns raised so that access can be given safely. We’re not sure how many people will ask for access all at once so there may be a wait, but we will do our best to get you online access as soon as we can.
To request online access please complete the request form via the link below
How to complain
We hope that most problems can be sorted out easily and quickly, often at the time they arise and directly with the person concerned. If your problem cannot be resolved in this way and you wish to make a complaint, we would like you to let us know as soon as possible – ideally within a matter of days or at most a few weeks – because this will enable us to establish what happened more easily. If it is not possible to do this, please let us have details of your complaint:
- Within 12 months of the incident that is the cause of the problem; or
- Within 12 months of discovering that you have a problem.
Complaining on behalf of someone else
Please note that we keep strictly to the rules of patient medical confidentiality. If you are complaining on behalf of someone else, we have to be assured that you have his or her permission to do so. A note signed by the patient concerned will be needed, unless they are incapable (because of illness) of providing this.
What you should do
Ask to speak to, email or make an appointment with the Practice Manager in order to discuss your concerns. She will explain the complaints procedure to you and make sure your concerns are taken seriously and dealt with promptly.
If you wish to put your complaint in writing, address to: Victoria Pilkington Practice Manager, Acorn Surgery, The Oak Tree Centre, 1 Oak Drive, Huntingdon, PE29 7HN.
Alternatively email [email protected] or telephone 01480 483100.
It will be a great help if you are as specific as possible about your complaint.
Our Commitment to You
We shall generally acknowledge your complaint within three working days and aim to have looked into your complaint within the time scale agreed with you but under normal circumstances within 21 working days. The time taken to investigate your complaint will depend on its complexity and the number of people involved. We shall then be in a position to offer you an explanation, or a meeting if that is more appropriate.
When we look into your complaint, we aim to:
- Find out what happened and what should have happened.
- Make it possible for you to discuss the problem with those concerned if this is your wish.
- Ensure the complaint is resolved to your satisfaction.
- Make sure you receive an apology, where this is appropriate.
- Identify what needs to be done to ensure the problem does not arise again.
Our Principles Are:
- To get it right
- To be patient focussed
- To be open and accountable
- To act fairly and proportionately
- To put things right
- To listen and take issues seriously
- To seek continuous improvement
Complaining to NHS England
We hope that if you have a problem, you will use our Practice complaints procedure to ensure it is resolved. We believe this will give us the best chance of putting right whatever has gone wrong and an opportunity to improve our Practice.
This however does not affect your right to approach the contact the local integrated care board (ICB) direct if you feel you cannot raise your complaint with us.
In this instance you should contact: Patient Experience Team for free via 0800 279 2535, or by emailing [email protected]
The team works Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays. If you call our freephone number and receive our answerphone message, please leave your name and telephone number so the team can return your call.
You can find out more about making a complaint on their website: https://www.cpics.org.uk/patient-experience-team
If you feel your complaint has not been resolved by the ICB or the Practice, it can be referred to The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. You may contact them instead of, or as well as, NHS England. All records will have to be provided to the Ombudsman to assist with the resolution of your complaint. www.ombudsman.org.uk 0345 015 4033 or [email protected] or The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Millbank Tower, Millbank, London, SW1P 4QP
For support and help regarding issues with NHS organisations, The Patient Experience Team (PET) provides:
- Advice and support to patients, their families and carers
- Information on NHS services
- Listens to concerns, suggestions or queries
- Help to sort out problems quickly.
In this instance you should contact: Patient Experience Team for free via 0800 279 2535, or by emailing [email protected]
The NHS Complaints Advocacy
For information and help in making a complaint you can contact POhWER who are the NHS Complaints advocacy service. www.pohwer.net Tel: 0300 456 2370, email: [email protected], postal address: POhWER, NHS Complaints Advocacy, PO Box 14043, Birmingham B6 9BL.
Care Quality Commission
The Care Quality Commission (CQC), does not manage individual complaints about GPs and their services. However, you can find out more about making a complaint on their website: http://www.cqc.org.uk/contact-us
Oak Tree Centre,
TEL: 01480 483100
If you have a complaint or concern about the service you have received from the doctors or any of the staff working in this Practice, please let us know. We operate a Practice complaints procedure as part of a NHS system for dealing with complaints. Our complaints system meets national criteria as laid down by the NHS.
Patient advice and liaison services (PALS)
The Patient Advice and Liaison Service, known as PALS, has been introduced to ensure that the NHS listens to patients, their relatives, carers and friends, and answers their questions and resolves their concerns as quickly as possible.
PALS also helps the NHS to improve services by listening to what matters to patients and their loved ones and making changes, when appropriate.
Confidentiality & Medical Records
The practice complies with data protection and access to medical records legislation.
Identifiable information about you will be shared with others in the following circumstances:
- To provide further medical treatment for you e.g. from district nurses and hospital services.
- To help you get other services e.g. from the social work department. This requires your consent.
- When we have a duty to others e.g. in child protection cases anonymised patient information will also be used at local and national level to help the Health Board and Government plan services e.g. for diabetic care.
If you do not wish anonymous information about you to be used in such a way, please let us know.
Reception and administration staff require access to your medical records in order to do their jobs. These members of staff are bound by the same rules of confidentiality as the medical staff.
Freedom of Information
Information about the General Practioners and the practice required for disclosure under this act can be made available to the public. All requests for such information should be made to the practice manager.
Reviewed & revised Sept 2013, Dec 2014, Reviewed by MS Nov 2016, Reviewed and Revised Nov PPG/AF/VP2023
The following statements are the standards set within the Acorn Surgery for the benefit of our patients. It is our role to provide you with care, treatment and advice. You will be involved in discussions about the most appropriate care for you and it will be provided by appropriately qualified staff. No care or treatment will be given without your informed consent. In your best interests, it is important that you understand all the information given to you so please ask any of our staff members questions if you are unsure of anything.
Our Responsibilities to you:
We will endeavour to always treat you at all times with courtesy, respect and sensitivity. Patients will be treated as individuals irrespective of their age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation. We strive to maintain the highest standards of medical practice and all doctors and health professionals maintain strict standards via appraisal, audit and professional development.
You will have access to a doctor or nurse rapidly in the case of an emergency. The clinician will arrange a home visit as appropriate for those who are too ill to be brought to the surgery or permanently housebound. We will try to offer all patients access to a doctor or nurses within 2 weeks for general, routine medical problems although it will not always be possible to offer an appointment with the doctor or nurse of your choice or to meet these waiting times for non urgent matters. You will be referred for appropriate investigations, specialist opinion and care at a hospital and will be offered choice of hospital, when both you and the doctor or nurse treating you agree it is necessary and would be of benefit.
We will try to answer the telephone promptly and ensure that there are sufficient staff members available to do this. Should the call volume be very high we advise callers to use the call back service. All calls are placed in a queue before being answered by the next available member of staff. With your consent we will send SMS text messages or emails to your mobile number or email, including appointment confirmation and reminders, alerts and messages regarding your healthcare. Where appropriate there is a function to respond to those messages
We run an appointment system at this Practice. You will be given a time at which the doctor or nurse hopes to be able to see you though sometimes factors occur which causes the appointment system to run late. You should not wait more than 30 minutes in the waiting room if this happens, please ask at the Reception Desk and we will endeavour to ascertain a reason and estimated time until you will be called.
If you have undergone blood tests, x-rays or other tests organised by the Practice, we will follow up any abnormal results as soon as appropriate and inform patients of any need for additional investigation or treatment. You can access your own results via the NHS App.
The Practice will offer patients information and advice on steps they can take to promote good health and avoid illness. Guidance will be given on lifestyle changes with referral to an appropriate practitioner when required. Advice on self-help that can be undertaken by the patient without reference to a will be offered where applicable.
We will give you full information about the services we offer and those offered locally that you can access yourself. Every effort will be made to ensure that you receive the information which directly affects your health and the care being offered. We will provide this in a range of ways, including via our website, social media, text messages, emails, notices and advertising boards within the surgery waiting areas.
Complaints and Suggestions:
We will provide a full and prompt reply to any complaints you might make about our service and, if appropriate, will change our ways of working to improve care or standards. In the rare event of the need to complain, patients will have prompt access to the Practice’s Complaints Procedure and all complaints will be handled in a professional manner by the Practice Manager who has responsibility for managing complaints.
Information contained in your health records is only disclosed to others for purposes related to your health care (except when you have given permission to share your record with other health related organisations.) Everyone working in the NHS has a legal duty to keep information about you confidential. If you have any concerns or objections about your records being inspected for any purpose, please notify us and your wishes will be respected.
How your medical records are used to help you:
Your records are important to help ensure that you receive the best possible care and are used in the following ways to support this process;
- to ensure that the clinician has accurate and up to date information to assess your health and decide what care you need when you visit in the future
- to ensure that full information is available should you see another doctor, change doctors, or be referred to a specialist or another part of the NHS system
- to ensure that there is a good basis for looking back and checking on the type and quality of care you have received
Whilst always preserving your confidentiality, your records can also help to:
- assist with the teaching and training of health care professionals such as medical students attached to the Practice and GPs in training and you can choose whether to be involved personally
- assist with health research if you are invited to take part in a study trial and decide to take part
Keeping your records confidential:
Our doctors and staff, and everyone else working for the NHS, have a legal duty to maintain the highest level of confidentiality about patient information. In some instances, you may receive care from other people outside of the NHS. We may need to share some information about you with them, so that we can all work together for your benefit. Anyone who receives confidential information from us about your care is also under legal obligation to maintain confidence. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, for example, when the health or safety of others is at risk, we will not disclose your information to third parties without your permission. We will only give your relatives and carers information if you give your explicit consent, and this is documented on your medical record.
In certain circumstances we are required by law to report information to the appropriate authorities. This information is only provided after formal authority has been given by a qualified health professional. For example:
- notification of new births
- where we encounter infectious diseases which may endanger the safety of others (e.g., meningitis or measles, but not HIV/AIDS)
- where a formal court order has been issued
- child safeguarding concerns
However, our guiding principle is that we are holding your records in strict confidence.
How you can arrange to see your own records:
Everyone has the right to see the information that is kept in their medical records. If you want to see these, you should make a request in writing by completing a form available on our website or from Reception. We are normally obliged to let you see the information and to explain any part of the record which you do not understand. You are also entitled to receive a copy of the information you have seen and that there will be a charge applied for accessing your record and for any copies printed from them. Should your doctor decide that seeing your records might put your health at risk, you may only be shown part of them. You can request access to your full prospective medical record online via the NHS app (and NHS website) access is granted following receipt of your informed consent and if you have a suitable NHS login.
Your responsibilities to us:
- Please remember, you are responsible for your own health and the health of any of your children. We will give you our professional help and advice and would expect you to act on it as given in good faith.
- We ask that you treat all our Practice staff with courtesy and respect. Abusive, threatening or inappropriate behaviour of any kind will not be tolerated under any circumstances and may well result in removal from our list.
- Please let us know if you change your name, address, telephone number or other relevant details.
- Please do everything you can to keep appointments. Tell us as soon as possible if you cannot; give at least 24 hours’ notice if possible, cancelling online via the NHS App or via our dedicated appointment cancellation line.
- If you are referred for a hospital outpatient appointment, we would expect you to keep it or if you cannot, to inform the hospital department direct as soon as possible – not the surgery. It is also very important to tell the hospital of any change of contact details if you are on a waiting list for an operation.
- Test results take time to reach us, and you will be given guidance how long this may be by the clinician. All results can be accessed via the NHS App. Calls enquiring about results should be made after 2pm.
- Patients treated for drug addiction may will be required to sign a Contract Agreement.
Privacy notice (GDPR Information)
As data controllers, GPs have fair processing responsibilities under the Data Protection Act and GDPR law 2018. This means ensuring that your personal confidential data (PCD) is handled in ways that are safe, transparent and what you would reasonably expect.
We need to hold personal information about you on our computer system and in paper records to help us to look after your health needs, and your doctor 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.
Doctors and staff 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.
All information about you is held securely and appropriate safeguards are in place to prevent accidental loss.
In some circumstances 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.
General Practice Data
The Acorn Surgery is one of many organisations working in the health and care system to improve care for patients and the public.
Whenever you use a health or care service, such as attending Accident & Emergency or using Community Care services, important information about you is collected in a patient record for that service. Collecting this information helps to ensure you get the best possible care and treatment. With your consent the information is shared between services to ensure a safe and effective service.
Patient Participation Group (PPG)
In line with the new GDPR regulations the PPG require consent to use your contact details to send you information advising you of PPG meeting dates, talks of interest dates and the Practice or PPG Newsletters.
Summary Care Record
Why do I need a Summary Care Record?
All patients registered with a GP have a Summary Care Record, unless they have chosen not to have one. The information held in your Summary Care Record gives health and care professionals, away from your usual GP practice, access to information to provide you with safer care, reduce the risk of prescribing errors and improve your patient experience.
Your Summary Care Record contains basic information about allergies and medications and any reactions that you have had to medication in the past.
Some patients, including many with long term health conditions, have previously agreed to have Additional Information shared as part of their Summary Care Record. This includes information about significant medical history (past and present), reasons for medications, care plan information and immunisations.
During the coronavirus pandemic period, your Summary Care Record will automatically have Additional Information included from your GP record unless you have previously told the NHS that you did not want this information to be shared.
There will also be a temporary change to include COVID-19 specific codes in relation to suspected, confirmed, Shielded Patient List and other COVID-19 related information within the Additional Information.
By including this Additional Information in your SCR, health and care staff can give you better care if you need health care away from your usual GP practice:
- in an emergency
- when you’re on holiday
- when your surgery is closed
- at out-patient clinics
- when you visit a pharmacy
Who can see it?
Only healthcare staff involved in your care can see your Summary Care Record.
Do I have to have one?
No, it is not compulsory. If you choose to opt out of the scheme, then you will need to complete a form and bring it along to the surgery or email it to us. You can use the form below
The NHS operate a zero tolerance policy with regard to violence and abuse and the practice has the right to remove violent patients from the list with immediate effect in order to safeguard practice staff, patients and other persons.
Violence in this context includes actual or threatened physical violence or verbal abuse which leads to fear for a person’s safety. In this situation we will notify the patient in writing of their removal from the list and record in the patient’s medical records the fact of the removal and the circumstances leading to it.