Safety & Quality

The NHS in England are rolling out a programme to implement Summary Care Record (SCR) by the end of March 2013.

What is in the SCR?

A patient’s summary care record (SCR) will contain limited but important information such as details of allergies, current prescriptions and bad reactions to medicines. A patient’s SCR will be available to authorised health-care staff anywhere in England. Health-care staff must be providing a patient with care in order to access their SCR, and must ask the patients permission each time they need to look at the SCR. SCR records will be of most benefit in an emergency or at out-of-hours services.

A letter to you as patients will be forwarded, giving you the option to choose not to have a Summary Care Record.

There is also the Local Cumbrian Shared Record (EMIS)

The Local Shared Record and the Summary Care Record are complementary to each other.

Where available, the local record would be used as first choice for clinicians to access a patient’s medical information, with patient permission. However, there are over 20 million visitors to the Lake District every year; about 5% of calls to the Out of Hours Service (NHS 111) are for unregistered patients, so the SCR is useful where a local shared record is not available or for a patient who is a visitor to the area, for example a temporary resident, or requires emergency treatment either in the local area or away from home.

Information Line on 0300 123 3020 or visit the website at

Patient Information: Click here to view Summary Care Record Leaflet

Health and Safety

We have a robust framework for ensuring we are adhering to Health and Safety legislation within the practice both for staff working in the environment of the surgery as well as to prevent harm to you when you attend the surgery. The Practice’s health and safety lead is Dr Grainger, along with Rachael (Business Manager) ensuring a safe environment for staff and patients using the service.

The Data Protection Act

The Data Protection Act gives you the right to know what information is stored about you. It puts responsibility on the practice to make sure we handle personal information responsibly and that we protect the privacy of you as an individual. The Act covers personal information that is stored on computer, microfiche, paper, email and any other storable media. You can at any time ask us what we use information about you for, you can ask for a copy of any information we hold about you, and you can ask us to correct any information which you believe is inaccurate.

If you wish to make a request for a copy of your personal information you must write to Rachael (Business Manager). The Practice will need to verify your identity to ensure we are not giving out someone else’s personal information to another person. The Practice is allowed to make a charge for photocopying your medical record and this currently stands at £10.00. The Practice is obliged to get the information to you within 40 days.

By law we do not have to supply personal information where dealing with the request would involve excessive time and expense, or where information includes sensitive personal information and disclosing this may harm the individual concerned. We do not need to supply personal information also where the information is required for crime prevention or taxation purposes or where information includes details about another individual. If at any time another public body made a request to us for information about an individual then we would first check that this body has authority under the Data Protection Act or that you had given your consent to them to ask for this information.

Equality and Diversity

Equality is about creating a fairer society where everyone can participate and has the opportunity to fulfil their potential. It is backed by legislation designed to address unfair discrimination (past, present, potential) that is based on membership of a particular group. It can be summarised in terms of: equal access, equal treatment, equal shares and equal outcomes. Diversity is about the recognition and valuing of difference in its broadest sense.

It is about creating a working culture and practices that recognise, respect value and harness difference for the benefit of the organisation and the individual. Diversity is about the collective mixture of individuals, cultures and organisational expertise. Both equality and diversity are inter-dependent. There is no equality of opportunity if difference is not recognised and valued.

The Practice:

  • Will ensure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect
  • Will offer equal opportunities to all, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or marital status
  • Will not tolerate any discrimination against patients, employees or visitors. Any such discrimination will be considered a disciplinary offence
  • Comments about gender, race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, religion, or age may be offensive and will not be tolerated in the workplace. Disciplinary action will be taken against anyone found to be making inappropriate comments in connection with any of the above.
  • If you feel discriminated against you should bring the matter to the attention of the Practice Manager, who will ensure that the matter is investigated thoroughly and confidentially within 7 working days. Where necessary, appropriate action will be taken to prevent any further discrimination taking place. This policy applies to all employees and partners, GP locums, temporary staff and contractors, and applies equally to all patients and visitors to the practice.

Violent or Abusive Patients

We aim to treat our patients courteously at all times and expect patients to treat staff in a similarly respectful way. We take seriously any threatening, abusive or violent behaviour against any of our staff or other patients. If a patient is violent or abusive, they will be warned to stop their behaviour. If they persist, we may exercise our right to take action to have them removed, immediately if necessary, from our list of patients.

Freedom of Information Act (FOI 2000)

Anyone anywhere in the world can make a request to the practice for information that we hold and have recorded in any form and the practice is obliged to inform the applicant in writing whether it holds the information. If we do hold the information requested then we have to supply the applicant with it within 20 working days. We are not obliged to comply with repeated requests for information. Anyone writing to us for information they think we may hold must describe clearly the information they are requesting. The practice can charge a reasonable fee for photocopying and postage but can only charge for anything else if the information costs more than £45 to retrieve and collate. Where we need to charge a fee we will inform the applicant of the costs before providing the information. We do not have to supply the information until the fee has been received.

Exemptions under the FOI 2000

Some types of information are exempt from the requirement to make them available these would include personal information which comes under the Data Protection Act 1998 and some information the disclosure of which would harm the commercial interests of the public body or a third party.

Patient Confidentiality

All information concerning patients is confidential, from the most sensitive diagnosis to the fact of having visited the surgery at all or being registered at the practice. A breach of confidentiality constitutes gross misconduct and may result in that member of staff’s dismissal, subject to the provisions of the practice’s disciplinary procedure.

The reason for a strict code of confidentiality in relation to patients is that, in general practice staffs are in possession of, or have access to, personal health information about individuals. This must remain confidential unless the patient provides informed consent for its release. In a limited number of circumstances, the doctor responsible for the patient’s care may decide that particular information should be disclosed without consent.

This would be justified, for example, in cases where disclosure was in the patient’s interest, but it was impossible, or medically undesirable, to seek his or her consent. Another example would be a situation where the doctor decided that he or she had an overriding duty to society to disclose information because a serious crime had been, or was very likely to be, committed. However, such rare decisions are the doctor’s and under no circumstances must staff make a decision to disclose patient information.

The duty of confidentiality owed to a person under 16 is as great as the duty owed to any other person. All doctors have a strict code of confidentiality and any breach of it by their staff could lead to disciplinary action being taken against the doctor by the General Medical Council. All patients can expect that their personal information will not be disclosed without their permission (except in the most exceptional circumstances when disclosure is required when somebody is at grave risk of serious harm).

Quality of Outcomes Framework

Known as ‘QOF’, the Quality and Outcome Framework is a system introduced by the government in 2003 to monitor a variety of factors felt to be markers for good medical practice. The practice receives ‘performance related’ payments on the basis of its results. By virtue of standardisation and computerisation of medical records it is possible to monitor the quality and completeness of our record keeping and certain aspects of patient management. Examples of the kind of information being scrutinised include:

  • The percentage of patients registered with the practice that has a recent record of smoking habits.
  • The percentage of registered patients with a recent blood pressure recording.
  • The percentage of patients, known to have high blood pressure, whose blood pressure is well controlled with treatment.

Inclusion of criteria used as markers for good practice depends upon there being good evidence that knowing the piece of information should be of significant benefit to the patient’s health outlook. There is certainly some evidence nationally that health promotion and preventative measures are starting to have an impact on patterns of disease. In all there are about 80 individual clinical markers that are monitored. Happily, so far, we have performed well and our results compare favourably with other practices locally and nationally.

Patient Surveys

Each year the Department of Health carry out patient surveys to find out what patients views are of access and quality of services. Your feedback on this is greatly valued and we encourage you to participate in the GP survey.

In addition, the PPG (Patient Participation Group) also carry out an in-house questionnaire to see how satisfied Court Thorn patients are about their own experience and quality of services provided.

Environmentally Friendly at Court Thorn Surgery

At Court Thorn Surgery we are really aware of our impact of our healthcare services on the environment. We have assessed our activities and identified that our significant environmental aspects which include the use of heat, water, electric, paper, printing and transport.

Therefore, we are committed to minimising our environmental impact during working hours. We endeavour to re-use, recover or recycle materials where practicable. Taking our social responsibility seriously we welcome are informing your views on this to ensure we continually improve in overall environmental performance.