Widcombe Surgery Data Sharing Policy

1. Introduction

Widcombe Surgery is committed to ensuring the confidentiality and security of patient information. This policy outlines the principles and procedures for sharing patient data within the practice and with external organisations, in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other relevant legislation.

2. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to:

  • Ensure that patient data is shared appropriately and securely.
  • Protect patient confidentiality.
  • Comply with legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Facilitate effective patient care through appropriate data sharing.

3. Scope

This policy applies to all staff members, including permanent, temporary, and contract staff, who handle patient data at Widcombe Surgery.

4. Legal Framework

This policy is based on the following legislation and guidelines:

  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  • Data Protection Act 2018
  • NHS Data Security and Protection Toolkit
  • Caldicott Principles
  • Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) guidelines

5. Data Sharing Principles

Widcombe Surgery adheres to the following principles when sharing patient data:

  • Lawfulness, Fairness, and Transparency: Data sharing must be lawful, fair, and transparent to the patient.
  • Purpose Limitation: Data must be shared only for specified, explicit, and legitimate purposes.
  • Data Minimisation: Only the minimum necessary data should be shared.
  • Accuracy: Data must be accurate and kept up to date.
  • Storage Limitation: Data should not be kept for longer than necessary.
  • Integrity and Confidentiality: Data must be processed securely to maintain its integrity and confidentiality.
  • Accountability: The practice must be able to demonstrate compliance with these principles.

6. Types of Data Sharing

  • Internal Data Sharing: Sharing patient data within the practice for the purpose of providing care.
  • External Data Sharing: Sharing patient data with external organisations, such as other healthcare providers, social services, and regulatory bodies, for the purpose of providing care or meeting legal requirements.

7. Consent

  • Implied Consent: For direct care purposes, implied consent is assumed when a patient agrees to treatment.
  • Explicit Consent: For non-direct care purposes, explicit consent must be obtained from the patient.

8. Data Sharing Agreements

When sharing data with external organisations, Widcombe Surgery will establish data sharing agreements that outline:

  • The purpose of data sharing.
  • The data to be shared.
  • The legal basis for sharing.
  • Security measures to protect the data.
  • Responsibilities of each party.

9. Data Security

Widcombe Surgery will implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to protect patient data, including:

  • Encryption of data during transmission.
  • Secure storage of data.
  • Access controls to limit data access to authorised personnel only.
  • Regular audits and monitoring of data sharing activities.

10. Patient Rights

Patients have the right to:

  • Be informed about how their data is used.
  • Access their data.
  • Rectify inaccurate data.
  • Erase their data (where applicable).
  • Restrict or object to data processing.
  • Data portability.

11. Breach Reporting

In the event of a data breach, Widcombe Surgery will:

  • Notify the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) within 72 hours.
  • Inform affected patients without undue delay.
  • Investigate the breach and take corrective actions.

12. Training

All staff members will receive regular training on data protection and data sharing policies and procedures.

13. Review

This policy will be reviewed annually or when there are significant changes in legislation or practice procedures.

14. Contact Information

For any questions or concerns regarding this policy, please contact the practice manager at [Practice Manager's Contact Information].