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Proxy access to online patient records

With new online services, practices are now facing challenges around proxy access rights and limitations. Proxy access refers to access to online services by somebody acting on behalf of the patient

Competent Adults - as per the Mental Capacity Act 2005, patients over the age of 16 are presumed to have capacity and should be given appropriate access to online services.

Children - Guidance published by the RCGP and NHS England makes it clear parents and guardians only have access rights up until the age of 11. However, there may be exceptions to this on a case-by-case basis. Please see the link below.

Proxy access guidance for general practice - RCGP Online Learning

11-16 years - Proxy access should be deactivated when a patient turns 11. Those who can make independent and informed decisions should be actively involved in decisions about who can access their information - this may result in their proxy having access to make appointments and order repeat scripts only

16-18 years - Where a child 16-18 appears to lack the capacity to manage their healthcare needs, GP’s may decide proxy access should remain with the parents/guardian.

Parental responsibility - It is common for practices to be caught up between estranged parents. Where access is requested by an estranged parent the same process as above should be followed. If the child lacks capacity the practice must clarify and seek evidence of parental responsibility. It is always recommended to encourage a collaborative approach with both parents where possible. If one parent has proxy access, it is recommended they be notified of the other’s request, however, they do not have the right to oppose it. However, if the requesting parent has had their parental responsibility revoked or access would be detrimental to the child, the other parent can provide evidence of this. The final decision would be down to the GP along with what information they would be given access to.

Adult patients who lack capacity - Where a patient has a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) or a deputyship has been ordered by the court of protection, proxy access can be provided to the nominated person. Where these arrangements do not exist, next of kin or carers may request proxy access. It is the GP’s responsibility to ensure access is only given where necessary and it is in the patient’s best interests.

This article is a summary of some of the points detailed in the RCGP/NHS England Guidance.

Fair Processing Notice 2018 – Sharing of Information

Improved Access Service

GP Practices in Crawley, Horsham and Mid Sussex are working together to provide more appointments in the evenings and at weekends at our GP hubs.

Sharing your data

The service is delivered by Alliance for Better Care (ABC) Ltd who work with the hubs to enable your clinical records to be accessed by GPs or healthcare professionals who are directly involved in looking after you, wherever you are seen. This would mean that, any person you see, with regards to your healthcare, could see your contact details and the notes made by other doctors or healthcare professionals about you and your health as well as other details such as test results. This would be enormously helpful to any healthcare professional involved in providing your care, so they may fully understand your health issues and any previous treatment you may have had.

Do you have to agree?

Your information will only be shared by people directly involved in your care. You can withhold sharing your information in this way at any time. You can let your GP practice know that you do not wish to allow others to view your records and this will be recorded in your notes. Should you attend any other services; you will always be asked if you agree to share before any nurse or doctor views your information at your appointment. You can change your mind at any time.

Information security

The duty to protect your personal information and confidentiality is very serious and we are committed to taking all reasonable measures to ensure the confidentiality and security of personal data for which we are responsible, whether computerised or on paper.

There are robust security (Information Governance) policies and procedures to ensure safe and appropriate use of information wherever you are.

You can request a copy of your records at any time. Please speak to a member of the reception team and they will advise you as to how you can do this.

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