Your information and Coronavirus
Your information and responding to coronavirus (COVID-19)
The health and social care system is facing significant pressures due to the coronavirus outbreak. Health and care information is essential to deliver care to individuals, to support health and social care services and to protect public health. Information will also be vital in researching, monitoring, tracking and managing the outbreak. In the current emergency, it has become even more important to share health and care information across relevant organisations.
This notice describes how GPs and other health and social care organisations may use your information within the health and social care system to protect you and others during the Coranavirus (COVID-19) outbreak with regard to your Summary Care Record.
Summary Care Records
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 registered and regulated healthcare 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 (Core) 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, previously have agreed to have Additional Information shared as part of their Summary Care Record. This Additional Information includes information about significant medical history (past and present), reasons for medications, care plan information and immunisations
Change to information held in your Summary Care Record
In light of the current emergency, the Department of Health and Social Care has removed the requirement for a patient’s prior explicit consent to share Additional Information as part of the Summary Care Record.
This is because the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has issued a legal notice to healthcare bodies requiring them to share confidential patient information with other healthcare bodies where this is required to diagnose, control and prevent the spread of the virus and manage the pandemic. This includes sharing Additional Information through Summary Care Records, unless a patient objects to this.
If you have already expressed a preference to only have Core information shared in your Summary Care Record, or to opt-out completely of having a Summary Care Record, these preferences will continue to be respected and this change will not apply to you. For everyone else, the Summary Care Record will be updated to include the Additional Information. This change of requirement will be reviewed after the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Why we have made this change
In order to look after your health and care needs, health and social care bodies may share your confidential patient information contained in your Summary Care Record with clinical and non-clinical staff in other health and care organisations, for example hospitals, NHS 111 and out of hours organisations. These changes will improve the healthcare that you receive away from your usual GP practice.
Your rights in relation to your Summary Care Record
Regardless of your past decisions about your Summary Care Record preferences, you will still have the same options that you currently have in place to opt out of having a Summary Care Record, including the opportunity to opt-back in to having a Summary Care Record or opt back in to allow sharing of Additional Information.
You can exercise these rights by doing the following:
- Choose to have a Summary Care Record with all information shared. This means that any authorised, registered and regulated health and care professionals will be able to see a detailed Summary Care Record, including Core and Additional Information, if they need to provide you with direct care.
- Choose to have a Summary Care Record with Core information only. This means that any authorised, registered and regulated health and care professionals will be able to see limited information about allergies and medications in your Summary Care Record if they need to provide you with direct care.
- Choose to opt-out of having a Summary Care Record altogether. This means that you do not want any information shared with other authorised, registered and regulated health and care professionals involved in your direct care. You will not be able to change this preference at the time if you require direct care away from your GP practice. This means that no authorised, registered and regulated health and care professionals will be able to see information held in your GP records if they need to provide you with direct care, including in an emergency.
To make these changes, you should inform your GP practice or complete this form and return it to your GP practice.
For more information about these changes see the following resources:
- press release on better information sharing for doctors and nurses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
- Summary Care Records
- Summary Care Records for patients including additional information
This privacy notice supplements your GP practice's main privacy notice.
Changes to this privacy notice
This notice may be amended at any time, so please review it frequently. The date at the top of this page will be amended each time this notice is updated.
Sharing Your Medical Record
Important Update 27/4/20- NHS Digital has recently released a statement requesting all practice IT systems automatically enable Enhanced Summary Care Records and GP Connect to enable improved quality of record sharing between us and other NHS organisations that care for you until at least 30th September 2020. *This overrides the information below about having to consent before information is shared.*
Increasingly, patient medical data is shared e.g. between GP surgeries and District Nursing, in order to give clinicians access to the most up to date information when attending patients.
*The systems we operate require that any sharing of medical information is consented to by patients beforehand. Patients must consent to sharing of the data held by a health provider out to other health providers and must also consent to which of the other providers can access their data.*
e.g. it may be necessary to share data held in GP practices with district nurses but the local podiatry department would not need to see it to undertake their work. In this case, patients would allow the surgery to share their data, they would allow the district nurses to access it but they would not allow access by the podiatry department. In this way access to patient data is under patients' control and can be shared on a 'need to know' basis.
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Summary Care Record
There is a new Central NHS Computer System called the Summary Care Record (SCR). The Summary Care Record is meant to help emergency doctors and nurses help you when you contact them when the surgery is closed. Initially, it will contain just your medications and allergies.
Later on as the central NHS computer system develops, (known as the ‘Summary Care Record’ – SCR), other staff who work in the NHS will be able to access it along with information from hospitals, out of hours services, and specialists letters that may be added as well.
Your information will be extracted from practices such as ours and held on central NHS databases.
As with all new systems there are pros and cons to think about. When you speak to an emergency doctor you might overlook something that is important and if they have access to your medical record it might avoid mistakes or problems, although even then, you should be asked to give your consent each time a member of NHS Staff wishes to access your record, unless you are medically unable to do so.
On the other hand, you may have strong views about sharing your personal information and wish to keep your information at the level of this practice. Connecting for Health (CfH), the government agency responsible for the Summary Care Record have agreed with doctors’ leaders that new patients registering with this practice should be able to decide whether or not their information is uploaded to the Central NHS Computer System.
For existing patients it is different in that it is assumed that you want your record uploaded to the Central NHS Computer System unless you actively opt out.