This section lists some of the most important Practice Policies and supporting service information. It is not practical to list all of the Practice policies on this website but please contact our Operations Manager if you require details of our other policies.
Access to medical Records
How to access your medical records
In accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation, patients (data subjects) have the right to access their data and any supplementary information held by Compass House Medical Centres; this is commonly known as a data subject access request (DSAR). Data subjects have a right to receive:
- Confirmation that their data is being processed
- Access to their personal data
- Access to any other supplementary information held about them
Options for access
All data subject access requests are provided to patients via giving online access to your medical record. If you require the information in a different format, for example emailing a copy of the record to you or a print out this will result in a delay with regards to receiving the information. This is because it takes considerable time for a GP to check the whole of a patient record and remove any third party references from it.
Prior to accessing this information, you will have to visit the practice and submit a Data Subject Access Request (DSAR) form and undertake an identity check before being granted access to your records. The forms are available on our practice website or alternatively printed copies are kept at Reception.
The completed form and ID will need to be handed back to Reception and your request will be dealt with in the allocated time frame as indicated below.
Once the DSAR form is submitted, Compass House Medical Centres will aim to process the request within 21 days; however, this may not always be possible. The maximum time permitted to process DSARs is one calendar month.
There may be occasions when the data controller will withhold information kept in the health record, particularly if the disclosure of such information is likely to cause undue stress or harm to you or any other person.
The Data Controller’s at Compass House Medical Centres are the GP Partners.
Accessible Information Standards (AIS)
Accessible Information Standards (AIS)
If you have a disability, impairment or sensory loss that affects your communication or information needs, please let your doctor or nurse know so your communication needs can be noted and we will endeavour to meet your needs wherever possible. If you find it hard to read our letters or if you need someone to support you at appointments, please let us know. We can arrange to provide the following if required:
- Information in braille, large print or easy read.
- A British Sign Language interpreter or advocate.
- Support for you to lip-read or use a hearing aid or communication tool.
A patient, or their doctor or nurse may ask for a chaperone (someone to accompany them) for any procedure or examination for which they consider it appropriate.
Patients may, of course, choose to be accompanied by a relative or friend, but many practice staff are specially trained in this role and can always be made available if required.
If you require a chaperone, please let us know as soon as possible, ideally at reception when first booking your appointment. We are more than happy to arrange this for you and, if organised in advance, your appointment will not be delayed.
Chaperone Policy Details
COMPASS HOUSE MEDICAL CENTRES is committed to providing a safe, comfortable environment where patients and staff can be confident that best practice is being followed at all times and the safety of everyone is of paramount importance.
This Chaperone Policy adheres to local and national guidance and policy – i.e.:-
‘NCGST Guidance on the role and effective use of chaperones in Primary and Community Care settings’. All staff members asked to chaperone MUST hold a current up-to-date CRB certificate [DBS]
The Chaperone Policy is clearly advertised through patient information leaflets, website (when available) and can be read at the Practice upon request. A Poster is displayed in all of the Practice Consulting rooms.
All patients are entitled to have a chaperone present for any consultation, examination or procedure where they consider one is required. The chaperone may be a family member or friend, but on occasions a formal chaperone may be preferred.
Patients are advised to ask for a chaperone if required, at the time of booking an appointment, if possible, so that arrangements can be made and the appointment is not delayed in any way. The Healthcare Professional may also require a chaperone to be present for certain consultations.
All staff are aware of and have received appropriate information in relation to this Chaperone Policy.
All trained chaperones understand their role and responsibilities and are competent to perform that role.
There is no common definition of a chaperone and their role varies considerably depending on the needs of the patient, the healthcare professional and the examination being carried out.
Their role can be considered in any of the following areas:
- Emotional comfort and reassurance to patients
- Assist in examination (e.g. during IUCD insertion)
- Assist in undressing
- Act as interpreter
- Protection to the healthcare professional against allegations / attack)
Checklist for consultations involving intimate examinations
- Chaperones are most often required or requested when a Doctor or Nurse is carrying out an intimate examination or procedure on a patient, but the designation of the chaperone will depend on the role expected of them, whether participating in the procedure or providing a supportive role.
- Establish there is a genuine need for an intimate examination and discuss this with the patient and whether a formal chaperone (such as a nurse) is needed.
- Explain to the patient why an examination is necessary and give the patient an opportunity to ask questions. The chaperone would normally be the same sex as the patient and the patient will have the opportunity to decline a particular person as a chaperone, if that person is considered not acceptable for any reason.
- Offer a chaperone or invite the patient to have a family member / friend present.
- If the patient does not want a chaperone, record that the offer was made and declined in the patient’s notes.
- Obtain the patient’s consent before the examination and be prepared to discontinue the examination at any stage at the patient’s request.
- Record that permission has been obtained in the patient’s notes.
- Once the chaperone has entered the room, they should be introduced by name and the patient allowed privacy to undress / dress. Use drapes / curtains where possible to maintain dignity. There should be no undue delay prior to examination once the patient has removed any clothing.
- Explain what is being done at each stage of the examination, the outcome when it is complete and what is proposed to be done next. Keep discussion relevant and avoid personal comment.
- If a chaperone has been present, record that fact and the identity of the chaperone in the patient’s notes.
- During the examination, the chaperone may be needed to offer reassurance, remain alert to any indication of distress but should be courteous at all times.
- Chaperones should remain inside the curtain whilst the examination is carried out.
- Record any other relevant issues or concerns in the patient’s notes, immediately following the consultation.
- Chaperones should only attend the part of the consultation that is necessary – other verbal communication should be carried out when the chaperone has left.
- Any request that the examination be discontinued should be respected.
- Healthcare professionals should note that they are at an increased risk of their actions being misconstrued or misrepresented, if they conduct intimate examinations where no other person is present.
Complaints and suggestions
We realise that there may be occasions when our service to you falls short of our customary standard. If you have a complaint or concern about the service you have received from the doctors or any of the staff working at Compass House Medical Centre please let us know.
We hope that most problems can be sorted out quickly and satisfactorily, preferably at the time they arise and with the person concerned.
If your problem cannot be resolved on the spot and you wish to make a complaint, we would ask you to let us know as soon as possible, ideally within a matter of days or at the most a few weeks.
Complaints should be addressed to the Operations Manager, Samantha Westlake. Alternatively, you may prefer to ask for an appointment with the Operations Manager to discuss your concerns. She will explain the complaints procedure to you and will make sure that any matter raised is dealt with promptly and sympathetically. It will be a great help if you are as specific as possible about your complaint in terms of what happened when and who was involved.
Everyone who uses the surgery is entitled to do so in the knowledge that whatever happens or is discussed here is completely confidential between them and the practice. There can only be complete trust and openness between medical professionals and their patients if this is the case.
Therefore, we adhere to a strict code regarding confidentiality, which means that no information is given out to a third party without the written permission of the patient. This applies to all information that we hold, medical and non-medical such as telephone numbers, addresses etc.
This code of confidentiality means that we will not give information to a husband or wife without specific permission to do so. It also applies to the affairs of any child who is considered capable of making the decision that he or she does not want information divulged to a parent or guardian.
Please do not put us and yourself in an embarrassing position by asking for information to which you are not entitled.
If you wish to give permission for data to be shared with a 3rd party please complete and return the consent form which can be downloaded from the link below.
The IT system we use for your medical records is EMISweb. This is a hosted system, which means your data is held on the EMIS servers in Leeds and is accessed by us via N3, a secure broadband network which is only accessible to the NHS. If signed EMIS data-sharing agreements are in place, other NHS organisations can also view this patient data over their N3 connection and/or the practice can view your data held on another organisation’s EMISWeb system.
Care.Data service – launched during 2016. Confidential information from your medical records can be used by the NHS to improve the services offered so we can provide the best possible care for everyone. This information along with your postcode and NHS number but not your name, are sent to a secure system where it can be linked with other health information. This allows those planning NHS services or carrying out medical research to use information from different parts of the NHS in a way which does not identify you. You have a choice to opt out of the care.data service, but if you are happy about your data being shared you need not take any action. If you wish to opt out of care.data please ask at reception. More information can be found at www.nhs.uk/caredata
NHS Summary Care Record is an electronic record containing your medication and allergy details that is held on the central NHS database (known as the Spine). Allowing authorised healthcare staff to have access to this information helps to improve decision making by doctors and other healthcare staff and has prevented mistakes being made when patients are being cared for in an emergency or when their GP practice is closed. Access to your Summary Care Record is strictly controlled. The only people who can see the information is the healthcare team currently in charge of your care. You have the right to opt out of the service. Please ask at Reception. Further information is available at Your Health Records
The practice operates an “Equal Opportunities” policy regarding employment and all aspects of healthcare.
GP Earnings Declaration
All GP Practices are required to declare the mean earnings (e.g. average pay) for GPs working to deliver NHS services to patients at each practice.
The average pay for GPs working in Compass House Medical Centre in the last financial year was £48,236 before tax and National Insurance. This is for 2 full time GPs, 5 part time GP's and 1 GP Locum.
The practice is required by the Government under the terms of the latest GP contract to allocate all patients a named accountable GP.
The practice does keep a record of your registered (accountable) GP. If you wish to be told the name of your Accountable GP, please ask the receptionists when you are next in the surgery. Please note that there is no need to telephone for this information. When a GP Partner leaves the practice their patients will be reallocated to other partners within the practice. We will not write to inform you of this but you can find out who your named GP is by asking next time you are in the practice.
This does not mean that you have to see a specific GP and can request to see any GP you choose.
Named GP for Patients over 75
All practices are required to provide all their patients aged 75 and over with a named GP who will have overall responsibility for the care and support that Compass House Medical Centres provides to them. Having a named GP does not prevent you seeing any other doctor in the practice. Your named GP (or preferred GP) will not be available at all times and if your needs are urgent, you may need to discuss them with an alternative doctor.
Where a patient expresses a preference as to which GP they have been assigned, the practice will make reasonable efforts to accommodate this request, but we do need to ensure that each doctor has a fair allocation of patients so we cannot guarantee to make this change, but we will try.
We will continue to offer an on call service for urgent appointments and any home visits will need to be shared equally among the medical team to allow an efficient service. However it does offer a named doctor to discuss on-going medical conditions in routine appointments should you wish. All our patients can book appointments with other doctors or nurses if they prefer.
The patient’s charter forms part of the NHS Constitution. See the updated version October 2015 “NHS Constitution for England: the NHS belongs to us all”
Your Information, Your Rights
Being transparent and providing accessible information to patients about how we will use your personal information is a key element of the Data Protection Act 2018 and the EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
The following notice reminds you of your rights in respect of the above legislation and how your GP Practice will use your information for lawful purposes in order to deliver your care and the effective management of the local NHS system.
This notice reflects how we use information for:
- The management of patient records;
- Communication concerning your clinical, social and supported care;
- Ensuring the quality of your care and the best clinical outcomes are achieved through clinical audit and retrospective review;
- Participation in health and social care research; and
- The management and clinical planning of services to ensure that appropriate care is in place for our patients today and in the future.
As your registered GP practice, we are the data controller for any personal data that we hold about you.
What information do we collect and use?
All personal data must be processed fairly and lawfully, whether is it received directly from you or from a third party in relation to the your care.
We will collect the following types of information from you or about you from a third party (provider organisation) engaged in the delivery of your care:
- ‘Personal data’ meaning any information relating to an identifiable person who can be directly or indirectly identified from the data. This includes, but is not limited to name, date of birth, full postcode, address, next of kin and [NHS number/HCN number/ CHI number];
- ‘Special category / sensitive data’ such as medical history including details of appointments and contact with you, medication, emergency appointments and admissions, clinical notes, treatments, results of investigations, supportive care arrangements, social care status, race, ethnic origin, genetics and sexual orientation.
Your healthcare records contain information about your health and any treatment or care you have received previously (e.g. from an acute hospital, GP surgery, community care provider, mental health care provider, walk-in centre, social services). These records may be electronic, a paper record or a mixture of both. We use a combination of technologies and working practices to ensure that we keep your information secure and confidential.
Why do we collect this information?
The NHS Act 2006 and the Health and Social Care Act 2012 invests statutory functions on GP Practices to promote and provide the health service in England, improve quality of services, reduce inequalities, conduct research, review performance of services and deliver education and training. To do this we will need to process your information in accordance with current data protection legislation to:
- Protect your vital interests;
- Pursue our legitimate interests as a provider of medical care, particularly where the individual is a child or a vulnerable adult;
- Perform tasks in the public’s interest;
- Deliver preventative medicine, medical diagnosis, medical research; and
- Manage the health and social care system and services.
How is the information collected?
Your information will be collected either electronically using secure NHS Mail or a secure electronic transferred over an NHS encrypted network connection. In addition physical information will be sent to your practice. This information will be retained within your GP’s electronic patient record or within your physical medical records.
Who will we share your information with?
In order to deliver and coordinate your health and social care, we may share information with the following organisations:
- Local GP Practices in order to deliver extended primary care services
- NHS such as local hospital trusts
- 111 and Out of Hours Service
- Local Social Services and Community Care services
- Voluntary Support Organisations commissioned to provide services by South Devon and Torbay CCG.
Your information will only be shared if it is appropriate for the provision of your care or required to satisfy our statutory function and legal obligations.
Your information will not be transferred outside of the European Union.
Whilst we might share your information with the above organisations, we may also receive information from them to ensure that your medical records are kept up to date and so that your GP can provide the appropriate care.
In addition we received data from NHS Digital (as directed by the Department of Health) such as the uptake of flu vaccinations and disease prevalence in order to assist us to improve “out of hospital care”.
Improved Access –EMIS to EMIS
As part of our Improved Access Initiative, Compass House Medical Centres patients will be able to book evening and weekend appointments, both here and at other local GP Practices. This will benefit you as a patient as it ensures that there are more appointments available to you at times that are more convenient out of the practice’s usual hours.
To ensure that the Clinician has full access to your medical records, when you book your appointment the Administrator will ask you to consent to sharing your medical records, which will ensure an effective and safe service.
This sharing occurs electronically through our clinical system and the sharing only occurs when you choose to book an appointment at another practice. You will be reminded of this when you book the appointment and your consent to share your medical record is taken.
Your data will be kept secure using the same clinical system used to access your medical record when you visit us for an appointment. The clinician you visit will be required to gain your consent prior to accessing your record. If you change your mind and do not wish to consent, the clinician will only be able to access your Summary Care Record. This will contain limited medical information and will restrict the care that you can be offered. We will be notified of your record being accessed and of any changes made to your medical record. We will review this to ensure any follow up is actioned.
If you have any concerns about this, or object to the sharing of your medical record in this way, please speak to one of our reception team, who will be able to record your decision and change the settings for your record.
How do we maintain the confidentiality of your records?
We are committed to protecting your privacy and will only use information that has been collected lawfully. Every member of staff who works for an NHS organisation has a legal obligation to keep information about you confidential. We maintain our duty of confidentiality by conducting annual training and awareness, ensuring access to personal data is limited to the appropriate staff and information is only shared with organisations and individuals that have a legitimate and legal basis for access.
Information is not held for longer than is necessary. We will hold your information in accordance with the Records Management Code of Practice for Health and Social Care 2016.
Consent and Objections
Do I need to give my consent?
The GDPR sets a high standard for consent. Consent means offering people genuine choice and control over how their data is used. When consent is used properly, it helps you build trust and enhance your reputation. However consent is only one potential lawful basis for processing information. Therefore your GP practice may not need to seek your explicit consent for every instance of processing and sharing your information, on the condition that the processing is carried out in accordance with this notice. Your GP Practice will contact you if they are required to share your information for any other purpose which is not mentioned within this notice. Your consent will be documented within your electronic patient record.
What will happen if I withhold my consent or raise an objection?
You have the right to write to withdraw your consent to any time for any particular instance of processing, provided consent is the legal basis for the processing. Please contact your GP Practice for further information and to raise your objection.
Health Risk Screening / Risk Stratification
Health Risk Screening or Risk Stratification is a process that helps your GP to determine whether you are at risk of an unplanned admission or deterioration in health. By using selected information such as age, gender, [NHS number/HCN number/ CHI number], diagnosis, existing long term condition(s), medication history, patterns of hospital attendances, admissions and periods of access to community care your GP will be able to judge if you are likely to need more support and care from time to time, or if the right services are in place to support the local population’s needs.
To summarise Risk Stratification is used in the NHS to:
- Help decide if a patient is at a greater risk of suffering from a particular condition;
- Prevent an emergency admission;
- Identify if a patient needs medical help to prevent a health condition from getting worse; and/or
- Review and amend provision of current health and social care services.
Your GP will use computer based algorithms or calculations to identify their registered patients who are at most risk, with support from the local Commissioning Support Unit and/or a third party accredited Risk Stratification provider. The risk stratification contracts are arranged South Devon & Torbay CCG in accordance with the current Section 251 Agreement. Neither the CSU nor your local CCG will at any time have access to your personal or confidential data. They will only act on behalf of your GP to organise the risk stratification service with appropriate contractual technical and security measures in place.
Your GP will routinely conduct the risk stratification process outside of your GP appointment. This process is conducted electronically and without human intervention. The resulting report is then reviewed by a multidisciplinary team of staff within the Practice. This may result in contact being made with you if alterations to the provision of your care are identified.
A Section 251 Agreement is where the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has granted permission for personal data to be used for the purposes of risk stratification, in acknowledgement that it would overburden the NHS to conduct manual reviews of all patient registers held by individual providers.
As mentioned above, you have the right to object to your information being used in this way. However you should be aware that your objection may have a negative impact on the timely and proactive provision of your direct care. Please contact the Operations Manager to discuss how disclosure of your personal data can be limited.
Sharing of Electronic Patient Records within the NHS
Electronic patient records are kept in most places where you receive healthcare. Our local electronic systems (such as SystmOne, EMIS and Eclipse) enables your record to be shared with organisations involved in your direct care, such as:
- GP practices
- Community services such as district nurses, rehabilitation services, telehealth and out of hospital services.
- Child health services that undertake routine treatment or health screening
- Urgent care organisations, minor injury units or out of hours services
- Community hospitals
- Palliative care hospitals
- Care Homes
- Mental Health Trusts
- Social Care organisations
In addition, NHS England have implemented the Summary Care Record which contains information including medication you are taking and any bad reactions to medication that you have had in the past.
In most cases, particularly for patients with complex conditions and care arrangements, the shared electronic health record plays a vital role in delivering the best care and a coordinated response, taking into account all aspects of a person’s physical and mental health. Many patients are understandably not able to provide a full account of their care, or may not be in a position to do so. The shared record means patients do not have to repeat their medical history at every care setting.
Your record will be automatically setup to be shared with the organisations listed above, however you have the right to ask your GP to disable this function or restrict access to specific elements of your record. This will mean that the information recorded by your GP will not be visible at any other care setting.
You can also reinstate your consent at any time by giving your permission to override your previous dissent.
Compass House Medical Centres shares information from medical records:
- to support medical research when the law allows us to do so, for example to learn more about why people get ill and what treatments might work best;
- we will also use your medical records to carry out research within the practice.
This is important because:
- the use of information from GP medical records is very useful in developing new treatments and medicines;
- medical researchers use information from medical records to help answer important questions about illnesses and disease so that improvements can be made to the care and treatment patients receive.
We share information with the following medical research organisations with your explicit consent or when the law allows: Clinical Practice Research Datalink.
You have the right to object to your identifiable information being used or shared for medical research purposes. Please speak to the practice if you wish to object
If you have received treatment within the NHS, the local Commissioning Support Unit (CSU) may require access to your personal information to determine which Clinical Commissioning Group is responsible for payment for the treatment or procedures you have received. Information such as your name, address, date of treatment and associated treatment code may be passed onto the CSU to enable them to process the bill. These details are held in a secure environment and kept confidential. This information is only used to validate invoices in accordance with the current Section 251 Agreement, and will not be shared for any further commissioning purposes.
Your Right of Access to Your Records
The Data Protection Act and General Data Protection Regulations allows you to find out what information is held about you including information held within your medical records, either in electronic or physical format. This is known as the “right of subject access”. If you would like to have access to all or part of your records, you can make a request in writing to the organisation that you believe holds your information. This can be your GP, or a provider that is or has delivered your treatment and care. You should however be aware that some details within your health records may be exempt from disclosure, however this will in the interests of your wellbeing or to protect the identity of a third party. If you would like access to your GP record please obtain a Subject Access Request form either from the website or the practice.
What to do if you have any questions
- Write to the data controller at Compass House Medical Centres, King Street, Brixham, TQ5 9TF
- Ask to speak to the Operations Manager, Samantha Westlake
In the event that your feel your GP Practice has not complied with the current data protection legislation, either in responding to your request or in our general processing of your personal information, you should raise your concerns in the first instance in writing to the Operations Manager at:
Compass House Medical Centres, King Street, Brixham TQ5 9TF
If you remain dissatisfied with our response you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wimslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF – Enquiry Line: 01625 545700 or online at www.ico.gov.uk
Transfer of patient records (GP2GP)
GP practices are obliged to make available a statement of intent regarding GP2GP. This document is the Statement of Intent from Compass House Medical Centres.
The Government requires all practices to utilise the electronic GP2GP facility for transfer of patient records between practices, when a patient registers or de-registers (not for temporary registration), or have publicised plans in place to achieve this by March 31st 2015.
This practice uses the GP2GP facility for all transfers of patient records unless there is an issue with the receiving practice’s computer system which does not allow or provide such transfers. The practice clinical system is fully compliant with GP2GP.
Compass House Medical Centres confirm that GP to GP transfers are already active and we send and receive patient records via this system.
Zero Tolerance Practice Policy
The Practice takes it very seriously if a member of staff is treated in an abusive or violent way.
The Practice supports the government's 'Zero Tolerance' campaign for Health Service Staff. This states that GPs and their staff have a right to care for others without fear of being attacked or abused. To successfully provide these services a mutual respect between all the staff and patients has to be in place.
Our Practice staff aim to be polite, helpful, and sensitive to all patients’ individual needs and circumstances. They would respectfully remind patients that very often staff could be confronted with a multitude of varying and sometimes difficult tasks and situations, all at the same time. The staff understand that ill patients do not always act in a reasonable manner and will take this into consideration when trying to deal with a misunderstanding or complaint.
However, aggressive behaviour, be it violent or abusive, will not be tolerated and may result in you being removed from the Practice list and, in extreme cases, the Police being contacted.
In order for the practice to maintain good relations with their patients the practice would like to ask all its patients to read and take note of the occasional types of behaviour that would be found unacceptable:
- Using bad language or swearing at practice staff
- Any physical violence towards any member of the Primary Health Care Team or other patients, such as pushing or shoving
- Verbal abuse towards the staff in any form including verbally insulting the staff
- Racial abuse and sexual harassment will not be tolerated within this practice
- Persistent or unrealistic demands that cause stress to staff will not be accepted. Requests will be met wherever possible and explanations given when they cannot
- Causing damage/stealing from the Practice's premises, staff or patients
- Obtaining drugs and/or medical services fraudulently
- We ask you to treat your GPs and their staff courteously at all times.
Please click on the link for our full "Zero Tolerance Practice Policy"