Confidentiality and 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 Practitioners 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 make every effort to give the best service possible to everyone who attends our practice.
However, we are aware that things can go wrong resulting in a patient feeling that they have a genuine cause for complaint. If this is so, we would wish for the matter to be settled as quickly, and as amicably, as possible.
Making a Complaint
Most problems can be sorted out quickly and easily, often at the time they arise with the person concerned and this may be the approach you try first.
Where you are not able to resolve your complaint in this way and wish to make a formal complaint you should do so, preferably in writing as soon as possible after the event and ideally within a few days, as this helps us to establish what happened more easily. In any event, this should be:
- Within 12 months of the incident,
- or within 12 months of you discovering that you have a problem.
State your case clearly giving as much detail as you can. If you are a registered patient you can complain about your own care. You are unable to complain about someone else’s treatment without their written authority – see further details below.
We are able to provide you with a separate complaints form to register your complaint and this includes a third-party authority form to enable a complaint to be made by someone else. Please ask at reception for this. You can provide this in your own format providing this covers all the necessary aspects.
Please send your written complaint to:
Elizabeth Slater, Lancaster Medical Practice
38 King St, Lancaster, LA1 1RE
Or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
What we do next
We look to settle complaints as soon as possible.
We will acknowledge receipt within 3 working days and indicate the timeframe in which you can expect a response from us. You may then receive a formal reply in writing, or you may be invited to meet with the person(s) concerned to attempt to resolve the issue. If the matter is likely to take longer than this, we will let you know, and keep you informed as the investigation progresses.
When looking into a complaint we attempt to see what happened and why, to see if there is something we can learn from this, and make it possible for you to discuss the issue with those involved if you would like to do so.
When the investigations are complete your complaint will be determined and a final response sent to you.
Where your complaint involves more than one organisation (e.g. social services) we will liaise with that organisation so that you receive one coordinated reply. We may need your consent to do this. Where your complaint has been sent initially to an incorrect organisation, we may seek your consent to forward this to the correct person to deal with.
The final response letter will include details of the result of your complaint and also your right to escalate the matter further if you remain dissatisfied with the response.
Complaining on Behalf of Someone Else
We keep to the strict rules of medical and personal confidentiality. If you wish to make a complaint and are not the patient involved, we will require the written consent of the patient to confirm that they are unhappy with their treatment and that we can deal with someone else about it.
Please ask at reception for the Complaints Form which contains a suitable authority for the patient to sign to enable the complaint to proceed.
Where the patient is incapable of providing con-sent due to illness or accident it may still be possible to deal with the complaint. Please provide the precise details of the circumstances which prevent this in your covering letter.
Please note that we are unable to discuss any is-sue relating to someone else without their express permission, which must be in writing, unless the circumstances above apply.
We may still need to correspond direct with the patient, or may be able to deal direct with the third party and this depends on the wording of the authority provided.
If You Are Dissatisfied with the Outcome
You have the right to approach the Ombudsman. The contact details are:
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Tel: 0345 0154033
Other Useful Contact Details
The Customer Care Team
PO Box 16738
Tel: 0300 311 2233 (Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm, excluding Bank holidays)
This service offers advocacy support with any NHS or Social Care related issue or complaint.
54 Blackburn Road
Tel 0345 456 3210
Text phone 07886 744634
Fax 0300 323 0966
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.
Equality and Diversity
Lancaster Medical Practice is committed to both eliminating discrimination and encouraging diversity amongst our workforce and in relation to our patients and service users.
Lancaster Medical Practice and its staff will not discriminate on grounds of gender, marital status, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, religion or age.
All employees will be treated fairly and with respect. Selection for employment, promotion, training or any other benefit will be on the basis of aptitude and ability. All employees will be helped and encouraged to develop their full potential to meet practice and practice needs.
The practice will:
• Create an environment in which individual differences and the contributions of staff are recognised and valued
• Ensure that every employee has a working environment that promotes dignity and respect
• Ensure that no form of intimidation, bullying or harassment is tolerated
• Provide training, development and progression opportunities to all staff
• Promote equality in the workplace as good management practice
• Review all employment practices and procedures to ensure fairness
Patients Seeking Private Treatment
We understand that some patients prefer to access treatment privately, as is your right. There are, however, implications of your decision to seek a private consultation.
Whilst you are undertaking private treatment, all prescriptions and associated care and monitoring – for example blood and other tests that may be required as part of this episode of care will also have to be undertaken privately. We are unable to ‘mix and match’ NHS and private care, this means that you cannot start a prescribed course of medication and have the monitoring for this drug undertaken on the NHS – any associated monitoring would also have to be undertaken privately. This is an important consideration and you should ensure that you either have sufficient funds available to fund the full course of treatment and everything associated with it, or that any medical insurer will meet the costs in full. We have to adopt a fair and equitable policy around these matters as we are often asked mid-way through a course of treatment to start to undertake some aspects of care in addition to what patients may be accessing privately. This guidance sits within the advice provided by both the General Medical Council (GMC) and the British Medical Association (BMA).
Your decision to seek private care does not in any way impact on your rights to access future NHS treatment for any condition and patients seeking private treatment also have the choice of switching from Private to NHS care at any time during their treatment but you would be referred for NHS care in the same way as any other patient.
Non NHS Services
A number of medical examinations, reports, insurance forms and certificates are not available on the NHS, but may be provided by the GPs privately, for a fee. These may be requested via the Reception staff and you will be notified of the relevant charge. While the GP’s endeavour to complete requests within 10 working days, core medical work must take priority.
Although some travel vaccinations are available on the NHS, many are not. Patients travelling abroad are advised to make a travel advice appointment, so that the nurses can advise you of any NHS or non-NHS vaccinations you might need. You will need to return the completed travel form at least 2 days prior to your appointment to give the nurse the opportunity to decide which vaccines you need prior to your appointment. Both types of vaccination are available, although there will be a charge for non-NHS vaccinations.