GDPR - General Data Protection Regulations

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulations and is a new piece of legislation that will supersede the Data Protection Act. It will not only apply to the UK and EU; it covers anywhere in the world in which data about EU citizens is processed.

The GDPR is similar to the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998 (which the practice already complies with), but strengthens many of the DPA’s principles. The main changes are:

  • Practices must comply with subject access requests
  • Where we need your consent to process data, this consent must be freely given, specific,
  • informed and unambiguous
  • There are new, special protections for patient data
  • The Information Commissioner’s Office must be notified within 72 hours of a data breach
  • Higher fines for data breaches – up to 20 million euros

What is ‘patient data’?

Patient data is information that relates to a single person, such as his/her diagnosis, name, age, earlier medical history, etc.

What is consent?

Consent is permission from a patient – an individual’s consent is defined as “any freely given specific and informed indication of his wishes by which the data subject signifies his agreement to personal data relating to him being processed.”

The changes in GDPR mean that we must get explicit permission from patients when using their data. This is to protect your right to privacy, and we may ask you to provide consent to do certain things, like contact you or record certain information about you for your clinical records.

Individuals also have the right to withdraw their consent at any time.

Data Protection Act 1998

The Practice is registered under the Data Protection Act 1998. Information is now protected by law and it is our responsibility to help protect it. Patients can have access to written records after November 1991 with the consent of the GP. Any application should be addressed to the Practice Manager.

Freedom of Information Act 2000: Publication Scheme

The Freedom of Information Act 2000, obliges the practice to produce a Publication Scheme. A Publication Scheme is a guide to the ‘classes’ of information the practice intends to routinely make available. This scheme is available from reception.