Health services in North Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are introducing a new system of sharing medical records from December 2013.
The system will allow the Consultants/Doctors at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire (UHNS) Emergency Department, who provide you with care, to view information in your GP medical record. Viewing your record will help to improve the quality of your care and potentially save lives.
The information that will be shared will be your active and past problems, all medications (including repeat prescriptions), allergies, intolerances, adverse drug reactions, investigation and values and vaccinations.
Who will be able to view my medical record and what will they use it for?
If you attend the Accident and Emergency (A&E), Acute Medical Unit, the Surgical Assessment Unit or the Frail Elderly Assessment Unit at UHNS, the Consultants/Doctors there will be able to view some of your GP medical record, but only with your permission.
This information will only ever be used for your direct patient care to improve safety and provide better care.
What will happen when the Consultants/Doctors want to view my GP medical record?
You will be asked directly to give your explicit consent, at the point of contact, for your GP medical record to be viewed. You can say yes or no; the Consultant/Doctor will only view your record if you say yes.
If you are unable to give consent, for example if you are unconscious or in extreme situations where you have refused permission and it is deemed to be vital for your survival, then a Consultant/Doctor may still view your GP medical record in order to be able to provide appropriate care for you. The Data Protection Act allows for this if it is in your interest.
If I give permission to view my GP medical record, how long does this permission last?
Your GP medical record will only be viewed while you are currently being treated. This permission will last throughout your treatment, to a maximum of 24 hours.
What are my rights about confidential information?
You have the right to expect us to keep your health information private. You also have the right to make sure we keep your details confidential under the Data Protection Act 1998, Human Rights Legislation (1998), Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the common law.
In every place we treat you, there are people who are responsible for making sure your details are kept confidential. They are sometimes known as Information or Caldicott Guardians.
Your consent will be gained at the point of contact, in order that we comply with Data Protection Act requirements.
Can I refuse to allow my GP to share my medical record?
If you are concerned about sharing your GP medical record you can opt out of allowing it to be shared. If you do not wish for your information, or even part of it, to leave your GP practice clinical system then please see your GP who will arrange this. This can be done at any time – now or in the future.
Is there a danger someone else could hack into my record or my information could be lost?
The NHS has the strongest security measures available and there is strong protection to prevent any information from being accessed without permission, lost or deleted.
In addition, regular audits are taken of the viewing of GP medical records at UHNS to ensure that viewings of the GP medical records are appropriate. These audits are undertaken by a specially appointed Privacy Officer.
For further information
For further information you can discuss the sharing of your medical records with your GP or you can contact the Information Governance Department at the Staffordshire and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit, Heron House, 120 Grove Road, Stoke-on-Trent Staffordshire, ST4 4LX, telephone 01782 298249.