Freedom of Information, Access to records and Confidentiality

Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act was introduced at the beginning of 2005. This act gives individuals or organisations the right to request information held by a public authority. As a Public body Sefton Park Medical Centre has a duty to comply with all aspects of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Please see NHS direct Freedom of Information Public scheme for more information.   NOTE: this facility is not for patients or their representatives to ask for copies of medical records but is covered by different arrangements (see below).

Doctors work under the NHS Confidentiality Code of Practice, this is a guide to required practice concerning confidentiality and patients’ consent to use their health records. Please see the Department Of Health Confidentiality: NHS Code of Practice for further information. (or follow this link). We will only share you information with others directly involved in your medical care.

The Practice is also required to publish a Freedom of Information "Scheme" document which gives some details of where information relating to the practice is either already available to the public or can be obtained from the practice on request.  A copy of that scheme is downloadable here.  While much of the information available is freely available at no charge it must be noted that there are circumstances where a charge may be made (photocopying hardcopy material) or will be refused (notably where it contains personal data).

Access to patient information

There are times when we have to pass information about you to other people such as hospitals, social services or the Primary Care Trust. This is always done confidentially or by removing your identifying details when they are not essential. Everyone working for the NHS has a legal duty to maintain the highest level of confidentiality about patient information. 

We have also gone live with your Summary Care Records (SCR), this will enable emergency services i.e. A&E, Walk In Centres and out of hours providers being able to view your medication, allergies and adverse reactions only.  Your consent will be required from the emergency services before they can access your records.  If you do not want your SCR to be accessible then call into the practice and sign an opt out form and your SCR will be removed from the system.


Data protection & information

We ask for information about you so that you can receive the best possible care and treatment. We keep this information on your computerised record, to ensure that the doctor or nurse has accurate and up to date records. We hold computerised patient records and we are registered under the Data protection Act.


Online access to your records

We are now able to offer an online service that in addition to booking appointments and ordering repeat prescriptions will also give you access to your medical records.  You need to call in at the practice with photographic proof of identity to sign up to the service and we can generate  a sheet with your unique registration details, instructions how to access the records and the web address to use.   This service may be sufficient for your needs without having to make a formal request in writing and is significantly quicker.

General access to your medical records

From 25th May 2018 your records are held to comply fully with the General Data Protection Regulations.  These briefly require that you can have access to them (with only some limited exceptions) by request and without charge (again except in some limited situations).     Access to your medical records is strictly controlled and the practice will require you to provide proof of your identity. Please make any requests for your own records (or if anyone is making the request on your behalf) in writing to the Practice Manager using the form available here .  The details of what records can be requested and how are included on the form


Access to the medical records of a deceased patient

The legislation governing access to the medical records of any deceased person limits us to who we may provide that information and under what circumstances - mainly relating to claims or legal action.    Access to those records should be made in the first instance to the practice however we may have already passed those records to the NHS central repository.  In either case there is a charge for copying those records.  You may make your request to us either through a Solicitor or directly using the form here.