Information Sharing

Sharing your records to support your care for GP Extended Access

What has recently changed?

The idea is to improve the care patients receive. Until recently each GP practice has held its own record for each patient they treat – this information was not automatically shared, and so a clinician having to treat you outside practice opening hours or when you are staying away from your home address has been unable to see the most up-to-date information about you.

Since 2018 practices have been using a shared IT system which allows access to a single patient record – with your permission staff treating you are now able to see your whole medical history, not just a part of it.

Which services are affected?

In the South East Hampshire area most GP Practices are using the EMIS Web IT system, which now allows sharing of your patient records to improve you medical care when you are unable to attend you usual GP Practice.

What does this mean for patients?

Until recently, each Practice has kept its own records for every patient using their services. That has meant that GPs cannot access records of patients from other GP practices.

Now, when two practices are both using the shared IT system, they will use the same single patient record for their notes on your care. It will be possible for records of your care to be shared between practices.

This means that:

  • The professionals treating you are now fully informed about your medical history, including medication and allergies.
  • The information they see is up to date – there are no delays caused by waiting for information to be passed on by phone, fax or post.
  • You no longer need to repeat the same information to different people time and again
  • You can now avoid unnecessary appointments or tests.

Your consent is the key to information sharing – it is your decision.

The process for sharing your record will be set up automatically, but you must still be asked for your consent before the person treating you can open your notes from another service. You will only be asked once when you first visit the service. If you want to restrict all or part of your records from being viewable outside of the service, you can request this.

What do I do if I am content for my record to be shared?

If you are content that your full record can be seen by those involved in your care, you do not need to do anything. To ‘double-check’ that you agree, you will also be asked – in person – whether you consent to your information being shared before any service can access your record for the first time.

What if I don’t want my record to be shared?

I do not want to share any part of my record. If you do not wish any other practice to be able to see your records, you can inform your GP Practice.

However it is important to note that, if you choose this option, your GP record will continue to be shared within the GP Practice.

I do not want certain parts of record shared. If you do not wish certain parts of your clinical record to be shared, or to be restricted to certain professionals’ teams, then you can request this. The professional treating you will then take the appropriate action to ensure that your record is restricted.

If I consent to sharing my records, who will be able to see my information?

If you give your consent, only the professionals involved in your care are permitted to access your records, and they can only view the information relevant to the treatment they are giving you.

Non-clinical support staff working in a service will have access to limited information, just to enable them perform their role, e.g. booking your appointments.

Everyone working with patient information is bound by data protection laws. All our services have a duty of confidentiality to only access information where it is needed to provide treatment or to protect your safety. The penalties for breaking these rules are severe and organisations regularly audit access requests to identify any inappropriate use.

Can my record be shared without my consent?

Your record will not be shared without your consent – except in two very specific circumstances.

Firstly, your record could be shared if there was a medical emergency – for example, you are unconscious – and secondly if there was a legal requirement for information to be shared.

What if a person is not capable of making their own, informed decisions?

If a person has been assessed – under the terms of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 – as not being able to make decisions about their care and treatment, then the existing procedures for making a decision on their behalf will be used. You can read more about where this might apply on the NHS Choices website by searching ‘mental capacity’: www.nhs.uk

Will my complete patient record be shared?

Yes – if that is your choice. Records on the existing computer systems will be transferred to become part of your single health record, but you have the option to make some, or all, of your record unavailable for sharing if you wish to do so.

What about treatment in hospital?

At the moment none of the services at the Hospital are using the IT system which will be shared by GPs, so their records will be kept on their current system. Hospital staff, GPs and community teams will continue to inform each other as appropriate in the same way as they do now through letters, secure email and telephone calls, as required.

What about social care records?

At the moment Adult and Children’s Social Care do not use the IT system which is being shared by GPs and community and mental health teams, and so NHS social care professionals will continue to share information, as appropriate, in exactly the same way as they do now.

What about treatment in another part of the country?

No, your medical record will be unable to be viewed by any other Practice in another part of the country.

I have also heard about Summary Care Record and Hampshire Health Record (now CHIE). What are the differences?

The Summary Care Record (SCR) is a national initiative to ensure NHS services can access important information about any medicines you are taking, allergies you suffer from, and whether you have reacted badly to any medicines. It does not include information on diagnosis, operations, or procedures. For more information visit www.nhscarerecords.nhs.uk

Care and Health Information Exchange (CHIE) – formerly known as the Hampshire Health Record is a clinical and care service supplied by the South, Central and West Commissioning Support Unit (SCW) using health and care data to support treatment and care of patients by doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers and other professionals involved in delivering NHS or local authority commissioned services. This is designed to support direct care to patients.

These are different from the shared patient record held by your GP and community teams, which allows the person treating you to see your full clinical record (with your consent).

What are your future plans to develop clinical information sharing?

In the longer term the ambition is that anyone involved in providing care to you – including hospital staff as well, and perhaps social care teams – will be able to access the data they need, thus ensuring they can provide the best support they can.

Is there a risk if I do not share my record?

It is your choice if you do not want all, or part, of your record to be shared. If you choose not to share your information, it may result in the delivery of your care being less efficient, as health professionals will not see your full medical history.

What if I have already stated I do not wish my information to be shared?

If you have previously advised your GP that you do not give, or have withdrawn, your consent to share all or part of your clinical record, this decision will be upheld, and will not be changed.

Who can I contact for further information?

Contact our Caretaker Practice Manager Helen Pinder, our Operational Manager Anita Arnold, or discuss this with your GP during your next appointment.