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.
Access to Records
In accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and Access to Health Records Act, patients may request to see their medical records. Such requests should be made through the practice manager and may be subject to an administration charge. No information will be released without the patient consent unless we are legally obliged to do so.
We always try to provide the best service possible, but there may be times when you feel this has not happened. The following information explains our in-house complaints procedure, drawn-up to respond to patient grievances. Our practice procedure is not able to deal with questions of legal liability or compensation. We hope you will use it to allow us to look into and, if necessary, correct any problems that you have identified, or mistakes that have been made. If you use this procedure it will not affect your rights to complain to the Health Board. Please note that we have to respect our duty of confidentiality to patients and a patient's consent will be required if a complaint is not made by the patient in person.
If you wish to make a complaint, please telephone or write to our practice manager. Full details will be taken and a decision made on how best to undertake the investigation.
We believe it is important to deal with complaints swiftly, so you will be offered an appointment for a meeting to discuss the details within seven days. Occasionally it may take longer, but we will keep you informed throughout. You may bring a friend or relative with you to the meeting. We will try to address your concerns, provide you with an explanation and discuss any action that may be needed.
Time limit for making complaints
It is recognised that it is not always possible to make a complaint immediately. In clinical complaints, for example, a complication or other issue may not become apparent for some time after the procedure. Similarly, the grief associated with the death of someone may make it difficult for their representatives or family members to deal with a complaint in the period immediately after the death.
Given the difficulties that the passage of time can make to the resolution of a complaint the timescale for accepting a complaint as set out in the regulations is within six months from the date on which the matter of the complaint comes to the person's notice, provided that this is also no later than 12 months after the date on which the matter of the complaint occurred.
The timescale for acceptance of a complaint may be extended if the Feedback and Complaints Officer or someone acting on their behalf considers it would be reasonable in the circumstances. Where a decision is taken not to extend the timescales, a clear explanation of the basis for the decision should be provided to the person making the complaint, and the person should be advised that they may ask the SPSO to consider the decision.
Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS)
The Patient Rights Act provided for the establishment of PASS. PASS operates independently of the NHS, and provides free, confidential information, advice and support to anyone who uses the NHS in Scotland. The service promotes an awareness and understanding of the rights and responsibilities of patients and can advise and support people who wish to give feedback, make comments, raise concerns or make complaints about treatment and care provided. Further information can be found on the PASS web site: www.patientadvicescotland.org.uk
Information about the SPSO
The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) is the final stage for complaints about public services in Scotland. This includes complaints about the NHS in Scotland. If you remain dissatisfied with an NHS board or service provider after its complaints process has concluded, you can ask the SPSO to look at your complaint. The SPSO cannot normally look at complaints:
• where you have not gone all the way through the complaints handling procedure;
• more than 12 months after you became aware of the matter you want to complain about; or
• that have been or are being considered in court.
The SPSO's contact details are:
4 Melville Street
(You don’t need to use a stamp)
Freephone: 0800 377 7330
Online contact www.spso.org.uk/contact-us
Mobile site: http://m.spso.org.uk
A Leaflet on our full Complaint Handling Policy is available here:
Patient Complaints Leaflet
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.