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.
Each practice needs to have a nominated Complaints Manager and formal written arrangements for complaints. These must be available, free of charge, to anyone who requests a copy.
All written formal complaints (including those by e-mail) need to be responded to with in two working days. If the complaint comes in verbally it can be written down detailing the complainant’s name, the subject matter and the date on which it was made. I normally ask that the complainant signs what I have written to gain consent.
They then need to be investigated and a report letter sent to the complainant within ten working days of receipt of the original complaint or the signed consent (whichever is the later).
All complaints should be dealt with as openly as possible, for both staff and complainant, even if legal action has been threatened. If there is evidence of negligence it is still appropriate to give a full explanation of events, including, if appropriate, an apology: “an apology is not an admission of liability”. Complaints should not become a disciplinary process and the investigation and report should not be about apportioning blame. The person who is having the complaint made about them should see a copy of the complaint.
The complaints procedure is a conciliatory process, which enables patients or their carers to express concerns or complaints, but also gives the NHS the opportunity to provide a full explanation to the issues raised, provide an appropriate apology and details of any steps taken to improve services in future. The emphasis is placed on resolving complaints locally where possible.
Who can make complaints?
Basically the person who has allegedly had the poor care. Consent forms must be obtained for other adults e.g. wife or a father. Parents or carers can complain on the part of their child or if someone is unable to complain.
It is 10 working days to do a final report letter with the acknowledgement letter still needing to be sent within 2 working days of the complaint being received
A complaint can be made within six months of the date on which the matter of the complaint occurred or six months since this matter came to notice of the complainant.
Investigation and Report
- The investigation must be carried out at an “appropriate” level.
- The complaints manager must keep the complainant informed of progress. This means that if the final report letter is not available in 10 working days a further letter needs to be sent explaining this, with the new date for a final report letter.
- The final report must be in writing,
Figures and data collection
Reports need to be provided annually to the PCT who submit the figures on a K041 (b) form to the Department of Health.
This requires that a record is kept of
- When the complaint was received
- Whether it was replied to within two days and report sent in ten working days
- The ethnicity of the complainant and any staff involved – if appropriate
It would also be helpful to know the main issues raised e.g. waiting times, clinical issues, staff attitude
Complaining to NHS Bradford and Airedale (new name for Bradford and Airedale Teaching Primary Care Trust (tPCT)
If you do not feel able to raise your complaint with us or you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint you can contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) at the tPCT in the first instance. PALS Officers will be able to help and advise you and/or arrange for a member of the complaints staff to contact you. The PALS team are based at Douglas Mill, Bowling Old Lane, Bradford, BD5 7JR, The contact telephone number is (01274) 237555.
Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO)
If you do remain dissatisfied you can approach the PHSO with your complaint. This should be done within 12 months of the final outcome of the practice complaints procedure. You can contact the PHSO, Millbank Tower, Millbank, London, SW1P 4QP or telephone 0345 015 4033
Independent help and support
You may also like to contact ICAS, the Independent Complaints Advocacy Service who can offer you independent help and support in making a complaint. The telephone number to contact is 0845 120 3734.
If a complainant writes directly to the tPCT, the tPCT has a responsibility to ensure the complaint is dealt with. In most cases we would forward the complaint to you and ask that you carry out the investigation as normal and respond to the patient directly.
Of course, we will also offer you any support that we can. Whether that is just an ear to listen or if you need us to help with words for letters etc. then let us know.
The tPCT lead is Lorraine Kennedy. Contact details are: Lorraine.Kennedy@bradford.nhs.uk Tel no: 01274 – 237562.
If a complaint is against more than one NHS body then one body will lead the investigation of the complaint, working closely with the other organisations. It is the lead body that will respond to the complainant.
The Department of Health has developed a good practice ‘tool kit’ for NHS Bodies in handling complaints at Local Resolution. Details available from the website www.dh.gov.uk/policyandguidance/organisationpolicy/complaintspolicy
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.