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Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

Here at Blacketts Medical Practice we are committed to protecting and respecting your privacy.  This privacy notice explains why we collect, use and disclose information which we hold about you. This notice also explains what rights you have to control how we use your information.

This privacy notice is part of our commitment to ensure that we process your personal information/data fairly and lawfully.

As data controllers, GPs have fair processing responsibilities under the Data Protection Act 1998.  This means ensuring that your personal confidential data (PCD) is handled in ways that are safe, transparent and what you would reasonably expect.  The Health and Social Care Act 2012 changed the way that personal confidential data is processed. Therefore it is important that patients are made aware of, and understand these changes and that you have an opportunity to object if you so wish and that you know how to do so.

Health care professionals maintain records about your health and any treatment or care you have received within the NHS (e.g. NHS Hospital Trust, GP Surgery, Walk-in clinic, etc.).  These records help to provide the best possible healthcare.

NHS health records may be processed electronically, on paper or a mixture of both, and a combination of working practices and technology are used to ensure that your information is kept confidential and secure.

Records held by this GP Practice may include the following information:

  • Your name and address, emergency contact details, carers, next of kin and legal representatives.
  • Any contact this surgery has had with you such as appointments, clinic visits etc.
  • Any treatment or care you have received previously for example a previous GP, hospital or walk in centre
  • Notes and reports about your health
  • Details about your treatment and care
  • Results of investigations, such as laboratory tests, x-rays, etc.
  • Relevant information from other health professionals or relatives who care for you

This GP Practice collects and holds data for the sole purpose of providing healthcare services to our patients and we will ensure that information is kept confidential.  We can disclose personal information if:

(i)        It is required by law

(ii)       You consent – either implicitly for the sake of your own care or explicitly for other purposes

(iii)       It is justified in the public interest

On some occasions it may be necessary to undertake clinical audits of records to ensure that the best possible care has been provided to you or to prevent the spread of infectious disease, wherever possible this will be done in anonymised form.

How Long Information Is Retained

Information is permanently retained within your clinical record to provide a full history of your care.

Some of this information will be held centrally and used for statistical purposes.  Where we hold data centrally, we take strict measures to ensure that individual patients cannot be identified.

Sometimes information about you may be requested to be used for research purposes.  The Practice will always endeavour to gain your consent before releasing the information.

Under the powers of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (HSCA) the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) can request Personal Confidential Data (PCD) from GP Practices without seeking the patient’s consent.  The Care.Data Programme allows PCD to be collected by the HSCIC to ensure that the quality and safety of services is consistent across the country.  Improvements in information technology are also making it possible for us to share data with other healthcare providers with the objective of providing you with better care.

Any patient can choose to withdraw their consent to their data being used in this way.  When the Practice is about to participate in any new data-sharing scheme we will make patients aware by displaying prominent notices in the surgery and on our website at least four weeks before the scheme is due to start.  We will also explain clearly what you have to do to ‘opt-out’ of each new scheme.

A patient can object to their personal information being shared with other health care providers but if this limits the treatment that you can receive then the doctor will explain this to you at the time. 

Risk Stratification

Risk stratification is a process for identifying and managing patients who are at a higher risk of emergency hospital admission.  Typically this is because patients have a long term condition such as COPD or cancer.  NHS England encourages GPs to use risk stratification tools as part of their local strategies for supporting patients with long-term conditions and to help prevent avoidable admissions.

Information about you is collected from a number of sources including NHS Trusts and from this GP Practice. A risk score is then arrived at through an analysis of your anonymous information using computer programmes.  Your  information is only provided back to your GP or member of your care team in an identifiable form.  Risk stratification enables your GP to focus on the prevention of ill health and not just the treatment of sickness. If necessary your GP may be able to offer you additional services.

Please note that you have the right to opt out of Risk Stratification.

Should you have any concerns about how your information is managed, or wish to opt out of any data collection at the Practice, please contact the Practice Manager or your healthcare professional to discuss how the disclosure of your personal information can be restricted.  All patients have the right to change their minds and reverse a previous decision.  Please contact the practice if you change your mind regarding any previous choice.

Invoice Validation

If you have received treatment within the NHS, access to your personal information may be required in order to determine which Clinical Commissioning Group should pay for the treatment or procedure you have received.

This information would most likely include information such as your name, address, date of treatment and may be passed on to enable the billing process.  These details are held in a secure environment and kept confidential. This information will only be used to validate invoices, and will not be shared for any further purposes.

NHS Health Checks

All of our patients aged 40-74 not previously diagnosed with cardiovascular disease are eligible to be invited for an NHS Health Check.  Nobody outside the healthcare team in the practice will see confidential information about you during the invitation process and only contact details  would be securely transferred to a data processor (if that method was employed).

Health Risk Screening

Your information will be used to identify whether you are in a patient cohort that may necessitate contacting you for a review or appointment for a screening check.  Examples include Pre Diabetes and NHS Health Checks.

Your information will be used to identify whether you are in a patient cohort that may benefit from additional care or input from a multi-disciplinary care team made up of other healthcare providers or social care professionals such as a Community Nurse, Community Matron.

Clinical Audits

Information may be used within the practice for clinical audit to monitor the services we provide. It may be used to protect the health of the public and to help us manage the NHS. Some of this information will be held centrally and used for statistical purposes but where we do this we take strict measures to ensure that individual patients cannot be identified. Sometimes your information may be requested for research purposes but the surgery will always gain your consent before releasing this information.

The practice may conduct Medicines Management reviews of medications prescribed to its patients to ensure they receive the most appropriate, up to date and cost effective treatments. This service is available to all practices within Darlington CCG.

Under the NHS Confidentiality Code of Conduct, all staff are required to protect information, inform you of how your information will be used and allow you to decide if and how your information can be shared. This will be noted in your records. All staff are required to undertake annual training in data protection, confidentiality and IT/cyber security.

How do we maintain the confidentiality of your records?

We are committed to protect your privacy and will only use your information lawfully in accordance with:

Data Protection Act 1998 and General Data Protection Regulation 2016

Human Rights Act 1998

Common Law Duty of Confidentiality

Health and Social Care Act 2012
NHS Code of Confidentiality, Information Security and Records Management

We will only ever pass on information about you to others involved in your care if there is a genuine need for it. We will not disclose your information to a third party without your permission unless there are exceptional circumstances and the law requires information to be passed on. We work within the information sharing principles where “The duty to share can be as important as the duty to protect patient confidentiality”

Who are our partner organisations

NHS Trusts/Foundation Trusts


NHS Commissioning Support Units

Independent contractors such as dentists. pharmacists and opticians

Ambulance Trusts

Clinical Commissioning Groups

Social Care Services

Health and Social Care Information Centre

Police and Judicial Services

Other ‘data processors’ during specific project work e.g. Diabetes UK

Access to Personal Information

You have a right under the Data Protection Act 1998 to access/view information the Practice holds about you, and to have it amended or removed should it be inaccurate.  This is known as ‘the right of subject access’.  If we do hold information about you we will:

  • give you a description of it;
  • tell you why we are holding it;
  • tell you who it could be disclosed to; and
  • let you have a copy of the information in an intelligible form.

In order to request this you need to do the following:

Complete a request form which can be obtained from the practice (if you request information from the hospital you should write to them directly).
There may be a charge to have a printed copy of the information
From 25th May 2018 we are required to respond to you within one month.
You will need to provide documents to verify your identity.

The practice has the right to refuse a request that is deemed unfounded or excessive.

16 or Under

We are concerned to protect the privacy of children aged 16 or under. If you are aged 16 or under‚ please get your parent/guardian’s permission beforehand whenever you provide us with personal information.

Who is the Data Controller?

The Data Controller, responsible for keeping your information secure and confidential is:

Drs Michie, Baines, Umashankar, Pearson and Hardy

The Practice is registered as a data controller under the Data Protection Act 1998.  The registration number is Z6467326  and can be viewed online in the public register at.


Objections / Complaints

Should you have any concerns about how your information is managed at your GP practice, please contact the GP Practice Manager:

Blacketts Medical Practice

63-65 Bondgate

Darlington DL3 7JR

If you are still unhappy following a review by the GP practice, you can then complain to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) via their website www.ico.gov.uk

Change of Details

It is important that you tell the person treating you if any of your details such as your name or address have changed or if any of your details such as date of birth is incorrect in order for this to be amended. You have a responsibility to inform us of any changes so our records are accurate and up to date for you.


The Data Protection Act 1998 requires organisations to register a notification with the Information Commissioner to describe the purposes for which they process personal and sensitive information.

This information is publicly available on the Information Commissioners Office website www.ico.org.uk

The practice is registered with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).

 Further information

Further information about the way in which the NHS uses personal information and your rights in that respect can be found in:

The NHS Care Record Guarantee:  http://www.nigb.nhs.uk/pubs/nhscrg.pdf

The NHS Constitution:  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-nhs-constitution-for-england

Care.data programme:  http://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/tsd/care-data/gp-guidance/

The HSCIC Guide to Confidentiality gives more information on the rules around information sharing : http://www.hscic.gov.uk/confguideorg

An independent review of how information about patients is shared across the health and care system led by Dame Fiona Caldicott was conducted in 2012.  The report, Information: To share or not to share?  The Information Governance Review, be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-information-governance-review

The NHS Commissioning Board – NHS England – Better Data, Informed Commissioning, Driving Improved Outcomes: Clinical Data Sets provides further information about the data flowing within the NHS to support commissioning.http://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/clinical-datasets.pdf

Please visit the Health and Social Care Information Centre’s website for further information about their work.  Information about their responsibility for collecting data from across the health and social care system can be found at: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/collectingdata

The Information Commissioner’s Office is the Regulator for the Data Protection Act 1998 and offer independent advice and guidance on the law and personal data, including your rights and how to access your personal information.  For further information please visit the Information Commissioner’s Office website at http://www.ico.gov.uk.

We keep this Privacy Policy under regular review. This policy was last updated in May 2020 and will be reviewed again in May 2021.