As a patient it is your right, with certain exceptions to have all information regarding your health, whether on paper or on the computer, confidential. Because of this, all staff are required to sign a statement of confidentiality to ensure that the highest possible standards of confidentiality are maintained.
When you register with a new practice, certain details, such as name, address and date of birth are passed to the Health Authority and to the NHS Central Register. This enables your medical record to be located and passed to your new practice. Although the Health Authority database holds information on childhood vaccinations and immunisations and cervical cytology, no other clinical information is held there or at the Central Register.
It is possible, however, that it may be necessary to share some information regarding your medical history with other health care professionals such as hospital consultants, to ensure you receive appropriate treatment. In addition, there are certain statutory requirements that require a practice to pass on information to the authorities for example notification of birth or death, infectious diseases, gunshot wounds.
In other cases, such as releasing medical records to solicitors when dealing with complaints or legal claims, information is only released with your written authority to do so or via a valid court order.