COVID PRIVACY NOTICE

  1. Introduction

    1. Principles

 

The purpose of this notice is to require organisations such as My Specialist GP to process confidential patient information for the purposes set out in Regulation 3(1) of the Control of Patient Information (COPI), to support the Secretary of State’s response to COVID-19 (COVID-19 Purpose). “Processing” for these purposes is defined in Regulation 3(2) and includes dissemination of confidential patient information to persons and organisations permitted to process confidential patient information under Regulation 3(3) of COPI.

 

This notice is necessary to require organisations, such as this organisation, to lawfully and efficiently process confidential patient information as set out in Regulation 3(2) of COPI for purposes defined in Regulation 3(1), for the purposes of research, protecting public health, providing healthcare services to the public and monitoring and managing the COVID-19 outbreak and incidents of exposure.

    1. Status

 

The organisation aims to design and implement policies and procedures that meet the diverse needs of our service and workforce, ensuring that none are placed at a disadvantage over others, in accordance with the Equality Act 2010. Consideration has been given to the impact this policy might have in regard to the individual protected characteristics of those to whom it applies.

 

This document and any procedures contained within it are non-contractual and may be modified or withdrawn at any time. For the avoidance of doubt, it does not form part of your contract of employment.

    1. Training and support

 

The organisation will provide guidance and support to help those to whom it applies to understand their rights and responsibilities under this policy. Additional support will be provided to managers and supervisors to enable them to deal more effectively with matters arising from this policy.

  1. Scope

    1. Who it applies to

 

This document applies to all employees, partners and directors of the organisation. Other individuals performing functions in relation to the organisation, such as agency workers, locums and contractors, are encouraged to use it.

 

Furthermore, it also applies to clinicians who may or may not be employed by the organisation but who are working under the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS).

It should be noted that as a private practice we are not linked to NHS digital and we have not been requested to send any information on our patients in regard to COVID 19. The information in this policy is here solely confirming the business knowledge of this information.

    1. Why and how it applies to them

 

The first principle of data protection is that personal data must be processed fairly and lawfully. Being transparent and providing accessible information to persons about how their personal data is used is a key element of the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR).

  1. Definition of terms

    1. Privacy notice

 

A statement that discloses some or all of the ways in which the organisation gathers, uses, discloses and manages a person’s data. It fulfils a legal requirement to protect a person’s privacy.

    1. Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA18)

 

The Data Protection Act (DPA18) will ensure continuity by putting in place the same data protection regime in UK law pre- and post-Brexit.

    1. Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)

 

The ICO is the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

    1. UK General Data Protection Regulation

 

The UK GDPR replaced the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and was designed to harmonise data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens’ data privacy and to reshape the way in which organisations across the region approach data privacy.

 

The UK GPDR came into effect in May 2018 and is now Chapter 2 of the DPA18.

    1. Data controller

 

The entity that determines the purposes, conditions and means of the processing of personal data.

    1. Data subject

 

A natural person whose personal data is processed by a controller or processor.

  1. Compliance with regulations

    1. COVID-19 Purpose

 

A COVID-19 Purpose includes, but is not limited to, the following:

 

  • Understanding COVID-19 and risks to public health, trends in COVID-19 and such risks, and controlling and preventing the spread of COVID-19 and such risks

 

  • Identifying and understanding information about patients or potential patients with or at risk of COVID-19, information about incidents of patient exposure to COVID-19 and the management of patients with or at risk of COVID-19 including: locating, contacting, screening, flagging and monitoring such patients and collecting information about and providing services in relation to testing, diagnosis, self-isolation, fitness to work, treatment, medical and social interventions and recovery from COVID-19

 

  • Understanding information about patient access to health services and adult social care services and the need for wider care of patients and vulnerable groups as a direct or indirect result of COVID-19 and the availability and capacity of those services or that care

 

  • Monitoring and managing the response to COVID-19 by health and social care bodies and the Government, including providing information to the public about COVID-19 vaccinations and treatment and their effectiveness. Furthermore, providing information about capacity, medicines, equipment, supplies, services and the workforce within the health services and adult social care services

 

  • Delivering services to patients, clinicians, the health services and adult social care services workforce and the public about and in connection with COVID-19, including the provision of information, fit notes and the provision of healthcare and adult social care services

 

  • Research and planning in relation to COVID-19

  1. Further information

    1. Privacy notice checklists

 

The ICO has provided a privacy notice checklist that can be used to support the writing of the organisation’s privacy notice. The checklist can be found by following this link.

    1. Privacy notice template

 

A privacy notice template can be found at Annex A.

 

It is recognised that the type and style of privacy notices may vary. However, this privacy notice template has been reviewed as being appropriate by a current Data Protection Officer. It is acknowledged to be extensive and covers all eventualities that may occur around information governance.

Annex A – COVID-19 Privacy Notice

 

INTRODUCTION

 

(This privacy notice is to run alongside our standard organisation privacy notice.)

 

Due to the unprecedented challenges My Specialist GP faces due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, there is a greater need for public bodies to require additional collection and sharing of personal data to protect against serious threats to public health.

 

In order to look after your healthcare needs in the most efficient way we, My Specialist GP, may therefore need to share your personal information, including medical records with health organisations (e.g.  Local authorities, etc.) and bodies engaged in disease surveillance for the purposes of research, protecting public health, providing healthcare services to the public and monitoring and managing the COVID-19 outbreak and incidents of exposure.

 

The Secretary of State has served notice under Regulation 3(4) of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 (COPI) to require organisations to process confidential patient information in the manner set out below for purposes set out in Regulation 3(1) of COPI.

 

PURPOSE OF THIS NOTICE

 

The purpose of this notice is to require organisations such as My Specialist GP to process confidential patient information for the purposes set out in Regulation 3(1) of COPI to support the Secretary of State’s response to COVID-19 (COVID-19 Purpose). “Processing” for these purposes is defined in Regulation 3(2) and includes dissemination of confidential patient information to persons and organisations permitted to process confidential patient information under Regulation 3(3) of COPI.

 

This notice is necessary to require organisations such as this organisation to lawfully and efficiently process confidential patient information as set out in Regulation 3(2) of COPI for purposes defined in Regulation 3(1), for the purposes of research, protecting public health, providing healthcare services to the public, and monitoring and managing the COVID-19 outbreak and incidents of exposure.

 

 

REQUIREMENT TO PROCESS CONFIDENTIAL PATIENT INFORMATION

 

The Secretary of State has served notice to recipients under Regulation 3(4) that requires My Specialist GP to process confidential patient information, including disseminating to a person or organisation permitted to process confidential patient information under Regulation 3(3) of COPI.

 

This organisation is only required to process such confidential patient information:

 

  • Where the confidential patient information to be processed is required for a COVID-19 Purpose and will be processed solely for that COVID-19 Purpose in accordance with Regulation 7 of COPI

 

  • From 20th March 2020 until 30th June 2022

 

COVID-19 PURPOSE

 

A COVID-19 Purpose includes, but is not limited to, the following:

 

  • Understanding COVID-19 and risks to public health, trends in COVID-19 and such risks, and controlling and preventing the spread of COVID-19 and such risks

 

  • Identifying and understanding information about patients or potential patients with or at risk of COVID-19, information about incidents of patient exposure to COVID-19 and the management of patients with or at risk of COVID-19 including: locating, contacting, screening, flagging and monitoring such patients and collecting information about and providing services in relation to testing, diagnosis, self-isolation, fitness to work, treatment, medical and social interventions and recovery from COVID-19

 

  • Understanding information about patient access to health services and adult social care services and the need for wider care of patients and vulnerable groups as a direct or indirect result of COVID-19 and the availability and capacity of those services or that care

 

  • Monitoring and managing the response to COVID-19 by health and social care bodies and the Government, including providing information to the public about COVID-19 vaccinations and treatment and their effectiveness. Furthermore, providing information about capacity, medicines, equipment, supplies, services and the workforce within the health services and adult social care services

 

  • Delivering services to patients, clinicians, the health services and adult social care services workforce and the public about and in connection with COVID-19, including the provision of information, fit notes and the provision of healthcare and adult social care services

 

  • Research and planning in relation to COVID-19

 

RECORDING OF PROCESSING

 

A record will be kept by Cathy Stewart, Managing Director, of all data processed under this notice.

 

SENDING PUBLIC HEALTH MESSAGES

 

Data protection and electronic communication laws will not stop this organisation from sending public health messages to you, either by phone, text or email as these messages are not direct marketing.

 

DIGITAL CONSULTATIONS

 

It may also be necessary, where the latest technology allows this organisation to do so, to use your information and health data to facilitate digital consultations and diagnoses and we will always do this with your security in mind.

 

RESEARCH AND PANDEMIC PLANNING  Not applicable to Private Practice but we are aware of these details

 

(The Secretary of State has directed NHS Digital to collect, process and analyse data in connection with COVID-19 to support the Secretary of State’s response to COVID-19 and support various COVID-19 purposes set out in the COVID-19 Public Health Directions 2020, 17 March 2020 (as amended) (COVID-19 Direction). This enables NHS Digital to collect data and analyse and link the data for COVID-19 purposes with other data held by NHS Digital.

 

The purpose of the data collection is also to respond to the intense demand for general practice data to be shared in support of vital planning and research for COVID-19 purposes, including under the general legal notice issued by the Secretary of State under Regulation 3(4) of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 (COPI).

 

NHS Digital has therefore been requested by the joint co-chairs of the Joint GP IT Committee (JGPITC) (the BMA and RCGP) to provide a tactical solution during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic to meet this demand and to relieve the growing burden and responsibility on general practices. On 15th April 2020, the BMA and RCGP therefore gave their support via JGPITC to NHS Digital’s proposal to use the General Practice Extraction Service (GPES) to deliver a data collection from general practices, at scale and pace, as a tactical solution to support the COVID-19 response in the pandemic emergency period.

 

It is a requirement of the JGPITC that all requests by organisations to access and use this data will need to be made via the NHSX SPOC COVID-19 request process, which will triage and prioritise these requests and refer appropriate requests on to the NHS Digital Data Access Request Service (DARS). NHS Digital will consult with representatives of the BMA and the RCGP on all requests for access to the data. An outline of the process for this agreed with the BMA and the RCGP is published here. Requests by organisations to access record-level data from this collection will also be subject to Independent Group Advising on the Release of Data (IGARD) consideration. Data applicants will need to demonstrate that they have a lawful basis to access the data for COVID-19 purposes. )

 

BENEFITS OF THIS SHARING

 

Organisations, including the Government, health and social care organisations and researchers need access to this vital data for a range of COVID-19 purposes, to help plan, monitor and manage the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which will help to save lives. COVID-19 purposes, for which this data may be analysed and used, may include:

 

  • Understanding COVID-19 and risks to public health, trends in COVID-19 and such risks, and controlling and preventing the spread of COVID-19 and such risks

 

  • Identifying and understanding information about patients or potential patients with or at risk of COVID-19, information about incidents of patient exposure to COVID-19 and the management of patients with or at risk of COVID-19 including: locating, contacting, screening, flagging and monitoring such patients and collecting information about and providing services in relation to testing, diagnosis, self-isolation, fitness to work, treatment, medical and social interventions and recovery from COVID-19

 

  • Understanding information about patient access to health services and adult social care services as a direct or indirect result of COVID-19, and the availability and capacity of those services

 

  • Monitoring and managing the response to COVID-19 by health and social care bodies and the Government, including providing information to the public about COVID-19 vaccinations and treatment and their effectiveness. Furthermore, providing information about capacity, medicines, equipment, supplies, services and the workforce within the health services and adult social care services

 

  • Delivering services to patients, clinicians, the health services and adult social care services workforce and the public about and in connection with COVID-19, including the provision of information, fit notes and the provision of healthcare and adult social care services

 

  • Research and planning in relation to COVID-19

 

 

 

LEGAL BASIS FOR THIS COLLECTION Not applicable for Private Practice

 

(NHS Digital has been directed by the Secretary of State under section 254 of the 2012 Act under the COVID-19 Direction to establish and operate a system for the collection and analysis of the information specified for this service: GPES Data for Pandemic Planning and Research (COVID-19). A copy of the COVID-19 Direction is published here.

 

Details of the information to be collected can be found on the NHS Digital website – Specification of this DPN. Type 1 objections will be upheld in collecting this data from primary care and therefore the data for those patients who have registered a Type 1 objection with their GP will not be collected. The Type 1 objection prevents an individual’s personal identifiable confidential information from being shared outside their GP practice except when it is being used for the purposes of their direct care. The National Data Opt-Out will not apply to the collection of the data, as this is a collection that is required by law.

 

This information is required by NHS Digital under section 259(1)(a) of the 2012 Act to comply with the COVID-19 Direction. In line with section 259(5) of the 2012 Act, all organisations in England that are within the scope of this notice, as identified below under Health and Social Care Bodies within the scope of the collection, must comply with the requirement and provide information to NHS Digital in the form, manner and for the period specified in this notice. This notice is issued in accordance with the procedure published as part of NHS Digital’s duty under section 259(8) of the 2012 Act.

 

In August 2020, the NHS announced that the seasonal national flu immunisation programme criteria for 2020–2021 will be expanded to include patients on the SPL. Therefore, to provide information that will support the identification of patients at moderate or high risk of complications from flu, a revision to the weekly extract of data has taken place. This, Version 3 of the extract for the purpose of maintaining and updating the SPL, will continue until the expiry of the COVID-19 Direction.

 

This is currently 30th June 2022 and every six months thereafter. The frequency of the data collection may change in response to demand. )

 

 

 

 

Data collection extracted on a weekly basis week commencing 13th April 2020

 

 

Revised weekly data collection. The first collection is due week commencing 28th September 2021

 

All patients with defined long-term medical conditions which pose a COVID-19 risk, identified as clinically extremely vulnerable to that risk and/or on certain drug treatments as below:

 

Medical conditions that provide information on clinically vulnerable patients

 

  • Severe asthma and dust-related lung disease with relevant treatment in the last 12 months (asthma treatment & prednisolone OR high-dose corticosteroid safety card)

  • COPD emphysema, and associated lung diseases with relevant treatment in the last 12 months (COPD drugs OR high-dose corticosteroid safety card

  • Non-asthma and non-COPD respiratory disease

  • Cancer (haem and others)

  • Genetic, metabolic or autoimmune disease

  • Immunosuppression drugs in the last 12 months

  • Flu-like symptoms or respiratory tract infections from 1st November 2019

  • Transplants with severe immunosuppression drug treatment in the last 12 months

  • Pregnant in last 9 months

All patients with defined long-term medical conditions which pose a COVID-19 risk, identified as clinically extremely vulnerable / potentially clinically vulnerable to that risk and/or on certain drug treatments as below:

 

Medical conditions that provide information on clinically vulnerable patients

 

  • Severe asthma and dust-related lung disease with relevant treatment in the last 12 months (asthma treatment & prednisolone OR high-dose corticosteroid safety card)

  • COPD emphysema, and associated lung diseases with relevant treatment in the last 12 months (COPD drugs OR high-dose corticosteroid safety card

  • Non-asthma and non-COPD respiratory disease

  • Cancer (haem and others)

  • Genetic, metabolic or autoimmune disease

  • Immunosuppression drugs in the last 12 months

  • Flu-like symptoms or respiratory tract infections from 1st November 2019

  • Transplants with severe immunosuppression drug treatment in the last 12 months

  • Pregnant in last 9 months

 

No change

  • Patients designated separately as at risk from COVID-19 using high/medium/low-risk SNOMED CT Codes

 

No change

 

  • Patients designated separately as at risk from COVID-19 using high/medium/low-risk SNOMED CT Codes

 

No change

 

Patients with a COVID-19 activity code

 

No change

 

Patients with a COVID-19 activity code

 

No change

 

 

Clinically vulnerable patients (eligible for seasonal flu vaccination)

 

  • Chronic respiratory disease

  • Unresolved asthma with recent asthma drug treatment (in the last 12 months) or has ever had an emergency hospital admission due to asthma

  • Chronic heart disease

  • Unresolved chronic kidney disease stage 3, 4 and 5

  • Unresolved diabetes mellitus

  • Unresolved immunosuppression diagnosis

  • Immunosuppression procedure in the last 12 months

  • Chronic liver disease

  • Chronic neurological disease

  • Pregnant in the last 9 months (different cluster to clinically extremely vulnerable group)

  • In patients aged 16 and over: BMI of 40+ in the last 12 months

  • In patients aged 16 and over: Latest BMI in the last 3 years was 40+

  • Learning disability (including Down’s)

  • Has a “requires flu vaccination” code

  • Identified as a healthcare worker in the last 12 months

  • Household contact of an immunocompromised individual

 

Other potentially clinically vulnerable patients

 

  • Unresolved hypertension

  • Pulmonary hypertension

  • Dementia

  • Systemic lupus

  • Discoid and non-systemic lupus

  • Psoriasis

  • Rheumatoid arthritis and associated disorders

 

 

Additional data items for patients from the above groups

 

  • Latest ethnic category code (all groups)

  • Earliest code indicating that the patient has died (all groups)

  • Latest smoking status (all groups)

  • Blood pressure from the last 2 years (all groups)

  • In patients aged 16 and over: all BMI and weight in last 5 years plus height (all groups)

  • IFCC-HbA1c in the last 2 years (for diabetic patients in the flu group only)

  • Latest COPD resolved and admission codes (for COPD patients in the clinically extremely vulnerable group only)

  • ACE inhibitors, ARBs and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the last 12 months (all groups)

  • Latest asthma emergency admission codes (for asthma patients in flu group only)

  • Asthma-related drug treatments in the last 12 months (for asthma patients in the flu group only)

 

 

The Secretary of State has directed NHS Digital to collect, process and analyse data in connection with COVID-19 to support the Secretary of State’s response to COVID-19 and support various COVID-19 purposes set out in the COVID-19 Public Health Directions 2020, 17 March 2020 (COVID-19 Direction) (as amended) (COVID-19) Direction.

 

This enables NHS Digital to collect data and analyse and link the data for COVID-19 purposes with other data held by NHS Digital. The rationale for changing the data extraction is that the initial data collection was based on an existing specification for flu vaccination eligibility. This data extraction was then refined in order to more accurately reflect the patients who are clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 and also to minimise the data we are collecting. A further refinement of the data extraction has taken place leading to the inclusion of new data being extracted. This will provide information to inform vaccination programmes. This General Practice Extraction Service (GPES) data will be extracted weekly and used to assist in producing a weekly update of the SPL. The objective of this collection is, on an ongoing basis, to identify patients registered at general practices who may be:

 

  • Clinically extremely vulnerable if they contract COVID-19

  • At moderate or high risk of complications from flu or COVID-19

 

The data collected will be analysed and linked with other data NHS Digital or other organisations hold, to identify:

 

  • A list of clinically extremely vulnerable patients who will be advised to take shielding measures to protect themselves

 

  • A list of patients at moderate or high risk of complications from flu to inform the flu call/recall vaccination programme

 

Further information on the flu programme can be found here: Coronavirus guidance for clinicians and NHS managers.

 

The extract may also be used for future direct care purposes relating to the COVID-19 outbreak. The methodology NHS Digital has used to produce the SPL is explained in detail and is published on the NHS Digital SPL website page here. Any patients added to the SPL will be contacted by post, email (and/or SMS message, where this is necessary) by the NHS on behalf of the Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, to:

 

 

  • Offer a flu vaccination or to contact non-responders who remain unvaccinated (as per NHS England specifications for the service). The SPL will also be used to inform GPs of their individual patients on the SPL, by flagging those patient records on GP patient record systems. The SPL will be shared with a variety of other organisations involved in the care and support of those patients and for planning, commissioning and research purposes associated with COVID-19. Full details of those with whom information has been shared can be found on the NHS Digital SPL website here

It should be noted that following the Government announcement on 15th September 2021 about the end of national shielding in England, NHS Digital began a managed closure of the Shielded Patient List. After a review in October 2021, NHS Digital and the Department of Health and Social Care agreed that there is an ongoing need for recipients to process the data they hold. Therefore, the end date has been extended to 31st March 2022. Full details can be sought from Shielded Patient List - NHS Digital.

Requests by organisations to access record-level data from this collection will be subject to Independent Group Advising on the Release of Data (IGARD) consideration. Data applicants will need to demonstrate that they have a lawful basis to access the data for COVID-19 purposes.

 

BENEFITS OF THE COLLECTION

 

Organisations, including Government, health and social care organisations, need to access this vital data for a range of COVID-19 purposes, to help plan, monitor and manage the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which will help to save lives. COVID-19 purposes for which this data may be analysed and used may include:

 

  • Understanding COVID-19 and risks to public health, trends in COVID-19 and such risks, and controlling and preventing the spread of COVID-19 and such risks

 

  • Identifying and understanding information about patients or potential patients with or at risk of COVID-19, information about incidents of patient exposure to COVID-19 and the management of patients with or at risk of COVID-19 including: locating, contacting, screening, flagging and monitoring such patients and collecting information about and providing services in relation to testing, diagnosis, self-isolation, fitness to work, treatment, medical and social interventions and recovery from COVID19

 

Data will be analysed and linked to other data held by NHS Digital or held by other organisations to which access to the data is granted for COVID-19 purposes, through the process described above. Data will be collected nationally from all general practices by NHS Digital every week.

 

All requests to access this data will be through the Data Access Request Service (DARS). This will significantly reduce the burden on general practice at a time when demand on resources is high, enabling general practice to focus on delivering healthcare and support to patients. It will also reduce compliance burden and risk for general practice associated with sharing data and complying with the terms of the general legal notice issued under the National Health Service (Control of Patient Information Regulations) 2002 (COPI), which applies to general practices. Patients facing the greatest risk if they contract COVID-19 and/or are in the moderate to high risk of complications from flu:

 

  • Will be identified and known to health organisations

  • Will have a greater awareness of the recommended preventative shielding measures

  • Will be able to follow clear advice

  • Will be able to ask for help and support, including social care support and essential food supplies, through the Extremely Vulnerable Persons service operated by gov.uk

 

It will enable the SPL to be updated weekly to identify new patients and changes to patients on the list, and will enable support provisions to be more dynamic and responsive to both social and clinical need.

 

It will also enable vital planning, commissioning and research to be carried out for COVID-19 purposes. If patients facing the greatest risk follow advice, it is hoped that this will contribute to the delay and mitigation of the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.

 

 

VISITORS TO THE ORGANISATION

 

We have an obligation to protect our staff and employees’ health, so it is reasonable for staff at My Specialist GP to ask any visitors to our organisation to tell us if they have visited a particular country, or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. This must only be in pre-approved circumstances and we would also ask all patients to consider seeking Government advice on the NHS 111 website and not attend the organisation.

 

Where it is necessary for us to collect information and specific health data about visitors to our organisation, we will not collect more information than we need, and we will ensure that any information collected is treated with the appropriate safeguards.

 

 

REVIEW AND EXPIRY OF THIS NOTICE

 

This notice will be reviewed on or before 31st March 2022 and may be extended by the Secretary of State. If no further notice is sent to this organisation by the Secretary of State, this notice will expire on 30th June 2022.