Increasingly, to ensure safe and quality treatment of patients and also to plan for services for the future, NHS organisations are seeking to share information about patients. Each time a new sharing option becomes a possibility, we will notify patients of this and provide you with information so that you can make a choice about sharing. To help you to understand the various levels of sharing, there are leaflets available for each system below. It is complex and you can ask at reception to speak to the Business manager if you are unsure or need additional information before deciding what to do.
1. Care Data - Sharing across all Health and Social Care Services
Your medical records will be automatically shared within the NHS and other third parties from this summer (unless this is delayed again), unless you opt out. From summer 2014 some information on your medical records will be used by the NHS and other parties, unless you opt out. You can opt in or out at any time. Please read the summary below of what is happening and read the leaflets listed here for more information about what is planned and how this will affect you.
The Health and Social Care Act 2012, which came into force on April 1st 2013, made some fundamental changes to the structure of the NHS.Under changes to legislation, your GP is now be required to upload information from the medical record of every patient in England to central servers at the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). Once this information leaves your GP practice, your doctor will no longer be in control of what data is passed on or to whom.
This information will include diagnoses, investigations, treatments and referrals as well as other things you may have shared with your doctor including your weight, alcohol consumption, smoking and family history. Along with your NHS number, date of birth, post code, gender and ethnicity.
The data that will be sent is coded information, such as mentioned above, and will not include your name or the detailed history and examination findings that your doctor makes.
NHS England, the body now in charge of commissioning primary care services across England, will manage and use the information extracted by the HSCIC for a range of purposes, none of which are to do with your direct medical care. These 'secondary uses’ include patient-level tracking and monitoring, audit, business planning and contract management.
Though any data passed on will be ‘anonymised’, no guarantees can be given as to future identification, indeed information is to be treated so that it can be linked to other data at patient level, and NHS England has already been given legal exemptions to pass identifiable data across a range of regional processing centres, local area teams and commissioning bodies that came into force on April 1st 2013. HSCIC provides access to patient data, some in identifiable form, to a range of ‘customers’ including private companies.
Further Information and NHS leaflets are available at the surgery or on-line below.
NHS Patient Information
NHS Patient FAQ's
So what do I need to do next?
If you’re happy for your medical information to be used in this way you don’t have to do anything.
If you do not want information from your medical records to be uploaded and passed on for purposes other than your immediate medical care you can opt out by telling your doctor at your next appointment or by filling out a standard letter. These letters are available at the surgery or on-line below. Once you've filled it in you can post the letter to The Lakes Medical practice, Bridge Lane, Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 8HW or email email@example.com or bring it into the surgery, making sure that you’ve signed it.
opt out Letter - Word version
opt out letter pdf version
2. Local Care Record - Sharing in Eden Only
Our practice has the ability to share some information from your medical records with other health services that provide you with care. This information is more detailed than the Summary Care record (see below) but is still limited and is called a ‘local shared record’.
Medical records are increasingly being stored on computers. If you give permission, the healthcare professionals you visit in the Eden area can view your shared record or a relevant section of it on a new computer system. This is done through a secure NHS network, not the internet.
Your shared record will contain a summary of your most up-to-date, relevant health information which includes things such as:
- Your recent diagnosis and test results;
- What allergies you have;
- What medications and treatment you currently receive.
By allowing access to your local shared record, you can ensure that healthcare professionals treating you have the most up-to-date and accurate information about your overall health and current treatments. This will allow healthcare staff to give you better advice and provide safer and more effective care. It will help to ensure that mistakes are avoided and can also reduce the need for you to give different health services the same information repeatedly.
At the start of your treatment, you will be asked directly for your permission to view your local shared record. Your local shared record will only be accessed while you are being treated.
You can decline to share your record but once you have done this, access cannot be obtained at the point of emergency treatment.
For more information, please download the ‘Changes to your medical records’ leaflet here.
Download the Question & Answer sheet giving further information.
If you want to discuss sharing sensitive information, or want to disable access to your local shared records, please contact your GP Surgery and ask to speak with the practice manager.
If you choose to opt out of the scheme, then you will need to complete a form and bring it along to the surgery.
3.Summary Care Record - The national sharing of limited information for emergency only
You will have been written to in Nov 2012 about the NHS in England introducing the Summary Care Record, which will be used in emergency care. The record will contain information about any medicines you are taking, allergies you suffer from and any bad reactions to medicines you have had, to ensure those caring for you have enough information to treat you safely.
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.
Your Summary Care Record was created from April 2013 unless you choose to opt out
As a patient you have a choice:
– you do not need to do anything and a Summary Care Record will be created for you. Healthcare staff will ask your permission before they look at your record, except in certain circumstances for example if you are unconscious.If you are the parent or guardian of a child under 16 and feel that they are old enough to understand, then you should make this information available to them.
- No I do not want a Summary Care Record – download and print the opt out form below.
This form should be completed and given to your GP practice.
Download the opt out form >>>>
For more information, telephone the dedicated NHS Summary Care Record Information Line on 0300 123 3020 or visit the website at www.nhscarerecords.nhs.uk, where you can find information in other formats and languages.
You can choose not to have a Summary Care Record and you can change your mind at any time by informing your GP practice.
For further information visit the Connecting for Health Website