Covid-19 and your information - Updated 8th April 2020
Supplementary privacy note on Covid-19 for Patients/Service Users at Bottisham Medical Practice
This notice describes how we may use your information to protect you and others during the Covid-19 outbreak. It supplements our main Privacy Notice which is available on our website.
The health and social care system is facing significant pressures due to the Covid-19 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.
Existing law which allows confidential patient information to be used and shared appropriately and lawfully in a public health emergency is being used during this outbreak. Using this law the Secretary of State has required NHS Digital; NHS England and Improvement; Arms Length Bodies (such as Public Health England); local authorities; health organisations and GPs to share confidential patient information to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak. Any information used or shared during the Covid-19 outbreak will be limited to the period of the outbreak unless there is another legal basis to use the data. Further information is available on gov.uk here and some FAQs on this law are available here.
During this period of emergency, opt-outs will not generally apply to the data used to support the Covid-19 outbreak, due to the public interest in sharing information. This includes National Data Opt-outs. However in relation to the Summary Care Record, existing choices will be respected. Where data is used and shared under these laws your right to have personal data erased will also not apply. It may also take us longer to respond to Subject Access requests, Freedom of Information requests and new opt-out requests whilst we focus our efforts on responding to the outbreak.
In order to look after your health and care needs we may share your confidential patient information including health and care records with clinical and non clinical staff in other health and care providers, for example neighbouring GP practices, hospitals and NHS 111. We may also use the details we have to send public health messages to you, either by phone, text or email.
During this period of emergency we may offer you a consultation via telephone or video-conferencing. By accepting the invitation and entering the consultation you are consenting to this. Your personal/confidential patient information will be safeguarded in the same way it would with any other consultation.
We will also be required to share personal/confidential patient information with health and care organisations and other bodies engaged in disease surveillance for the purposes of protecting public health, providing healthcare services to the public and monitoring and managing the outbreak. Further information about how health and care data is being used and shared by other NHS and social care organisations in a variety of ways to support the Covid-19 response is here.
NHS England and Improvement and NHSX have developed a single, secure store to gather data from across the health and care system to inform the Covid-19 response. This includes data already collected by NHS England, NHS Improvement, Public Health England and NHS Digital. New data will include 999 call data, data about hospital occupancy and A&E capacity data as well as data provided by patients themselves. All the data held in the platform is subject to strict controls that meet the requirements of data protection legislation.
In such circumstances where you tell us you’re experiencing Covid-19 symptoms we may need to collect specific health data about you. Where we need to do so, we will not collect more information than we require and we will ensure that any information collected is treated with the appropriate safeguards.
We may amend this privacy notice at any time so please review it frequently.
Covid-19 Supplementary Privacy Notice for Pandemic Planning and Research
Health and care information will be vital in researching, monitoring, tracking and managing the coronavirus outbreak. This practice is supporting vital coronavirus planning and research by sharing your data with NHS Digital, the national safe haven for health and social care in England. Under GDPR all GP practices in England are legally required to share data with NHS Digital for this purpose under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (2012 Act).
To find out the type of information being shared with NHS Digital, how it is shared and the legal basis for doing so:-
This privacy notice lets you know what happens to any personal data that you give to us, or any that we may collect from or about you.
This privacy notice applies to personal information processed by or on behalf of the practice.
This Notice explains
- Who we are, how we use your information and our Data Protection Officer
- What kinds of personal information about you do we process?
- What are the legal grounds for our processing of your personal information (including when we share it with others)?
- What should you do if your personal information changes?
- For how long your personal information is retained by us?
- What are your rights under data protection laws?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) became law on 24th May 2016. This is a single EU-wide regulation on the protection of confidential and sensitive information. It enters into force in the UK on the 25th May 2018, repealing the Data Protection Act (1998).
For the purpose of applicable data protection legislation (including but not limited to the General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679) (the "GDPR"), and the Data Protection Act 2018 the practice responsible for your personal data.
This Notice describes how we collect, use and process your personal data, and how, in doing so, we comply with our legal obligations to you. Your privacy is important to us, and we are committed to protecting and safeguarding your data privacy rights
How we use your information and the law
The practice will be what’s known as the ‘Controller’ of the personal data you provide to us.
We collect basic personal data about you which does not include any special types of information or location-based information. This does however include name, address, contact details such as email and mobile number etc.
We will also collect sensitive confidential data known as “special category personal data”, in the form of health information, religious belief (if required in a healthcare setting) ethnicity, and sex during the services we provide to you and or linked to your healthcare through other health providers or third parties.
Why do we need your information?
The health care professionals who provide you with care maintain records about your health and any treatment or care you have received previously (e.g. NHS Trust, GP Surgery, Walk-in clinic, etc.). These records help to provide you with the best possible healthcare.
NHS health records may be electronic, on paper or a mixture of both, and we use a combination of working practices and technology to ensure that your information is kept confidential and secure. Records which the Practice hold about you may include the following information;
- Details about you, such as your address, carer, legal representative, emergency contact details
- Any contact the surgery has had with you, such as appointments, clinic visits, emergency appointments, etc.
- Notes and reports about your health
- Details about your treatment and care
- Results of investigations such as laboratory tests, x-rays etc
- Relevant information from other health professionals, relatives or those who care for you
To ensure you receive the best possible care, your records are used to facilitate the care you receive. Information held about you may be used to help protect the health of the public and to help us manage the NHS. Information may be used within the GP practice for clinical audit to monitor the quality of the service provided.
How do we lawfully use your data?
The following sections of the GDPR mean that we can use medical records for research and to check the quality of care (national clinical audits)
Article 6(1)(e) – ‘processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller’.
For medical research: there are two possible Article 9 conditions.
Article 9(2)(a) – ‘the data subject has given explicit consent…’
To check the quality of care (clinical audit):
Article 9(2)(h) – ‘processing is necessary for the purpose of preventative…medicine…the provision of health or social care or treatment or the management of health or social care systems and services...’
Risk stratification data tools are increasingly being used in the NHS to help determine a person’s risk of suffering a condition, preventing an unplanned or (re)admission and identifying a need for preventive intervention. Information about you is collected from a number of sources including NHS Trusts and from this GP Practice. A risk score is then arrived at through an analysis of your de-identified information is only provided back to your GP as data controller in an identifiable form. Risk stratification enables your GP to focus on preventing ill health and not just the treatment of sickness. If necessary, your GP may be able to offer you additional services. Please note that you have the right to opt out of your data being used in this way.
The Practice may conduct Medicines Management Reviews of medications prescribed to its patients. This service performs a review of prescribed medications to ensure patients receive the most appropriate, up to date and cost-effective treatments.
How do we maintain the confidentiality of your records?
We are committed to protecting your privacy and will only use information collected lawfully in accordance with:
- Data Protection Act 2018
- The General Data Protection Regulations 2016
- Human Rights Act 1998
- Common Law Duty of Confidentiality
- Health and Social Care Act 2012
- NHS Codes of Confidentiality, Information Security and Records Management
- Information: To Share or Not to Share Review
Every member of staff who works for an NHS organisation has a legal obligation to keep information about you confidential.
We will only ever use or pass on information about you if others involved in your care have a genuine need for it. We will not disclose your information to any third party without your permission unless there are exceptional circumstances (i.e. life or death situations), where the law requires information to be passed on and / or in accordance with the information sharing principle following Dame Fiona Caldicott’s information sharing review (Information to share or not to share) where “The duty to share information can be as important as the duty to protect patient confidentiality.” This means that health and social care professionals should have the confidence to share information in the best interests of their patients within the framework set out by the Caldicott principles.
Our practice policy is to respect the privacy of our patients, their families and our staff and to maintain compliance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and all UK specific Data Protection Requirements. Our policy is to ensure all personal data related to our patients will be protected.
All employees and sub-contractors engaged by our practice are asked to sign a confidentiality agreement. The practice will, if required, sign a separate confidentiality agreement if the client deems it necessary. If a sub-contractor acts as a data processor for the practice an appropriate contract (art 24-28) will be established for the processing of your information.
In Certain circumstances you may have the right to withdraw your consent to the processing of data. Please contact the Data Protection Officer in writing if you wish to withdraw your consent. If some circumstances we may need to store your data after your consent has been withdrawn to comply with a legislative requirement.
Some of this information will be held centrally and used for statistical purposes. Where we do this, we take strict measures to ensure that individual patients cannot be identified. Sometimes your information may be requested to be used for research purposes – the surgery will always gain your consent before releasing the information for this purpose in an identifiable format. In some circumstances you can Opt-out of the surgery sharing any of your information for research purposes.
With your consent we would also like to use your information to inform you of other services
We would however like to use your name, contact details and email address to inform you of services that may benefit you, with your consent only. There may be occasions were authorised research facilities would like you to take part on innovations, research, improving services or identifying trends.
At any stage where we would like to use your data for anything other than the specified purposes and where there is no lawful requirement for us to share or process your data, we will ensure that you have the ability to consent and opt out prior to any data processing taking place. This information is not shared with third parties or used for any marketing and you can unsubscribe at any time via phone, email or by informing the practice DPO as below.
Where do we store your information Electronically?
All the personal data we process is processed by our staff in the UK however for the purposes of IT hosting and maintenance this information may be located on servers within the European Union.
No 3rd parties have access to your personal data unless the law allows them to do so and appropriate safeguards have been put in place. We have a Data Protection regime in place to oversee the effective and secure processing of your personal and or special category (sensitive, confidential) data.
Who are our partner organisations?
We may also have to share your information, subject to strict agreements on how it will be used, with the following organisations;
- NHS Trusts / Foundation Trusts
- eMBED Health
- Independent Contractors such as dentists, opticians, pharmacists
- Private Sector Providers
- Voluntary Sector Providers
- Ambulance Trusts
- Clinical Commissioning Groups
- Social Care Services
- NHS England (NHSE) and NHS Digital (NHSD)
- Local Authorities
- Education Services
- Fire and Rescue Services
- Police & Judicial Services
- Voluntary Sector Providers
- Private Sector Providers
- Other ‘data processors’ which you will be informed of
You will be informed who your data will be shared with and in some cases asked for consent for this to happen when this is required.
We may also use external companies to process personal information, such as for archiving purposes. These companies are bound by contractual agreements to ensure information is kept confidential and secure. All employees and sub-contractors engaged by our practice are asked to sign a confidentiality agreement. If a sub-contractor acts as a data processor for the practice an appropriate contract (art 24-28) will be established for the processing of your information.
How long will we store your information?
GP medical records will be kept in line with the law and national guidance.
Information on how long records can be kept can be found at: https://digital.nhs.uk/article/1202/Records-Management-Code-of-Practice-for-Health-and-Social-Care-2016 or speak to the practice.
How can you access, amend move the personal data that you have given to us?
Even if we already hold your personal data, you still have various rights in relation to it. To get in touch about these, please contact us. We will seek to deal with your request without undue delay, and in any event in accordance with the requirements of any applicable laws. Please note that we may keep a record of your communications to help us resolve any issues which you raise.
Right to object: If we are using your data because we deem it necessary for our legitimate interests to do so, and you do not agree, you have the right to object. We will respond to your request within 30 days (although we may be allowed to extend this period in certain cases). Generally, we will only disagree with you if certain limited conditions apply.
Right to withdraw consent: Where we have obtained your consent to process your personal data for certain activities (for example for a research project), or consent to market to you, you may withdraw your consent at any time.
Right to erasure: In certain situations (for example, where we have processed your data unlawfully), you have the right to request us to "erase" your personal data. We will respond to your request within 30 days (although we may be allowed to extend this period in certain cases) and will only disagree with you if certain limited conditions apply. If we do agree to your request, we will Delete your data but will generally assume that you would prefer us to keep a note of your name on our register of individuals who would prefer not to be contacted. That way, we will minimise the chances of you being contacted in the future where your data are collected in unconnected circumstances. If you would prefer us not to do this, you are free to say so.
Right of data portability: If you wish, you have the right to transfer your data from us to another data controller. We will help with this with a GP to GP data transfer and transfer of your hard copy notes.
For national clinical audits which check the quality of care the data will be shared with NHS Digital.
- The data will be shared with NHS Digital.
- The data will be shared with the Care Quality Commission.
- The data will be shared with our local health protection team or Public Health England.
- The data will be shared with the court if ordered.
National Data Opt-Out
There are very limited rights to object when the law requires information to be shared with NHS Digital but government policy allows some rights of objection as set out below.
- You have the right to object to information being shared with NHS Digital for reasons other than your own direct care.
- The national data op-out model provides you with an easy way of opting-out of identifiable data being used, including when it is shared by NHS Digital for these reasons. To opt-out or to find out more about your opt-out choices please go to NHS Digital’s website: You have the right to object to your identifiable information being used or shared for medical research purposes. You can do this via https://nhs.uk/your-nhs-data-matters/ or email email@example.com or in writing to
National Data Opt Out
7 and 8 Wellington Place
You can also make or change a choice for yourself by phoning the NHS Digital Contact Centre on 0300 303 5678 – Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays).
Access to your personal information
Data Subject Access Requests (DSAR): You have a right under the Data Protection legislation to request access to view or to obtain copies of what information the surgery holds about you and to have it amended should it be inaccurate. To request this, you need to do the following:
- Your request should be made to the Practice – for information from the hospital you should write direct to them
- There is no charge to have a copy of the information held about you
- We are required to respond to you within one month
- You will need to give adequate information (for example full name, address, date of birth, NHS number and details of your request) so that your identity can be verified, and your records located information we hold about you at any time.
What should you do if your personal information changes?
You should tell us so that we can update our records please contact the Practice Manager as soon as any of your details change, this is especially important for changes of address or contact details (such as your mobile phone number), the practice will from time to time ask you to confirm that the information we currently hold is accurate and up-to-date.
Docmail Mailing Service & GDPR
Bottisham Medical Practice uses a mailing company called Docmail to handle some mailings to patients. Typically this is for bulk mailings such as invitations to attend flu clinics where it is difficult to accommodate the administrative work involved without affecting our ability to serve patients. This is permissible under guidance from both the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the Department of Health (DoH) subject to the provisions of GDPR and the Data Protection Act.
Please find below some more information about Docmail and how we work with them to ensure that we protect our patients’ personal data at all times.
What is Docmail
Docmail is provided by CFH Total Document Management Ltd, a secure print and mailing company which provides print and mailing services for Local Government, GPs, Dentists, Medical Practices, Schools, Exam Boards and Banks etc. throughout the UK. The system can be found online at www.docmail.co.uk and requires a secure user name and password for us to log on and upload our letters and address lists to create the printed output for despatch to Royal Mail. The system allows us to upload a letter template and mailing data for the patients we want to write to via a secure web portal.
Connecting For Health
Docmail has achieved a 100% rating in the Department of Health’s Information Governance Toolkit Assessment for 2016-2017 and meets with the terms and conditions of the DH Information Governance Assurance Statement. This assessment is publicly available and can be viewed here
Docmail and GDPR
Docmail will process any data that we supply in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR). This means that they only process the data we send them according to our instructions and take technical and organisational measures to ensure the safety of data and ensure it is processed securely. Their terms and conditions can be found here.
The letters will be delivered to your address by Royal Mail in the normal way.
Docmail delete all personal data within 28 days after the mailing.
Bottisham Medical Practice uses software called Pro-Delivery Manager to manage the dispensary delivery process.
What is Pro-Delivery Manager
Pro-Delivery Manager was first produced by an independent pharmacy to do medication deliveries. The software allows the planning and tracking of medication deliveries safely and securely to the patient’s door.
Pro-Delivery Manager & GDPR
Pro Delivery Manager are registered with the Information Commissioner's Office for Data Protection purposes. Their registration number is ZA06570. For full information on Pro-Delivery Manager GDPR policy please click the link https://prodeliverymanager.com/policies/data-protection-security/.