NHS Data Sharing at Voyager Family Health

You have the right to share data on your terms.

Voyager Family Health places privacy and data protection at the heart of all its processing.

We share information from your medical records in a number of ways.

In North East Hampshire & Farnham, a number of data sharing schemes are running that involve either extracting and uploading information from your GP record to a 3rd party data controller, a data processor, or making information from your GP record visible to other healthcare professionals.

You have the right to control how your personal information is used and who has access to it.

You can do this by opting out of any or all of these schemes. And you can opt back into any of the schemes, at any time.

To opt out of any or all of the schemes below please fill in and return the form to us:

Opt in- Out patient choice form


The Summary Care Record (SCR)

This is a national centralised database of limited medical information (allergies and medication only), extracted and uploaded from your GP record to NHS Digital.
That information is then potentially available to medical staff nationwide.

There are no secondary uses of the SCR, and data uploaded to the SCR database is neither shared nor used beyond that required to provide direct medical care.

Clinicians at SCAS NHS 111 can access the SCR.
The pharmacy department at Frimley Park Hospital can access the SCR.

However, neither Frimley Park Hospital A&E, nor the local ambulance service (SECAMB), nor Frimley Primary Care Services GP out-of-hours centre, nor our community staff (district nurses, midwives, and health visitors), use or can access the SCR.

All our community nurses already have full access to the GP records of our patients (through our EMIS Web clinical system).


Care and Health Information Exchange –
(CHIE – formally Hampshire Health Record)

This is a complex, localised centralised database of very large amounts of medical information extracted and uploaded from your GP record to NHS South, Central and West CSU, where it is combined with information from hospital records, community care records, social care records and mental health records.

That combined information is then potentially available to medical staff across Hampshire (i.e. regionally), by a large number of organisations (NHS, non-NHS and private).

Please note that you may not be asked for your explicit permission before your CHIE information is accessed by a clinician.

In the majority of occasions, your explicit consent will be obtained prior to your CHIE being accessed by a clinician, but that may not always be the case. Whilst access to the CHIE has always been permissible (under the DPA and common law) in a true emergency, when a patient is incapable of consenting (e.g. unconscious), clinicians are seemingly able to access the CHIE of a patient in advance of a routine consultation (even though consent could easily be obtained prior to the appointment).

In addition, uploaded data is processed for secondary purposes by some – but not all – organisations uploading to the database.

Voyager Family Health does not allow secondary processing of our patients’ uploaded GP records.

Neither Frimley Park Hospital A&E nor the local ambulance service (SECAMB), nor SCAS NHS 111 use or access the CHIE.

Neither Frimley Park Hospital, nor the Royal Berkshire Hospital, nor The Royal Surrey County Hospital upload to (or access) the CHIE.

Frimley Primary Care Services GP out-of-hours centre has access to the CHIE, but clinicians there use EMIS Web data streaming instead.

Our community staff (district nurses & health visitors) have access to the CHIE, though it is not used by the health visitors, and infrequently by our district nurses.

All our community nurses already have full access to the GP records of our patients (through our EMIS Web clinical system).


EMIS Web data streaming

Both A&E at Frimley Park Hospital and Frimley Primary Care Service GP out-of-hours centre, can – with your explicit consent at the time – access details of your GP record should you have need to attend either organisation. Your information is only available locally with this scheme.

In addition, we have also permitted Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care (PTHC) access to the full GP record in this way, should you be referred to their services.

No data from your GP record is extracted, uploaded or “sent” anywhere with this system – it is “viewed” in real time.

The GP out-of-hours service and A&E are increasingly using this facility.


Secondary uses of your medical record

Secondary purposes are those unrelated to your direct medical care.

Examples include using your information for research, audit, healthcare planning, risk profiling (or “stratification”), “population health management”, extraction of sick note data to the DWP, commercial and even political uses.

Currently, Voyager Family Health processes the following for secondary uses:

  • Mandatory data collections to NHS Digital, as below
  • Evaluation of Vanguard services (with patient consent)
  • The National Cancer Diagnosis Audit

Risk Stratification for Case Finding

Risk stratification is a process for identifying and managing patients who are at high risk of emergency hospital admission.

Risk stratification tools use various combinations of historic information about patients, for example, age, gender, diagnoses and patterns of hospital attendance and admission and primary care data collected from GP practice record systems.

GPs will be able to identify which of their patients are at risk in order to offer a preventative service to them.

Mandatory data collections

GP surgeries are sometimes required by law to extract and upload data to NHS Digital. We are required by law to let patients know about these and of their right to opt-out (fair processing information).

One such mandatory extraction is for Individual GP Level Data – you can read about it here.

Another mandatory data collection is the National Diabetes Audit – you can read about it here.

The other mandatory data collection is the extraction of sick note data to NHS Digital (and thereafter to the DWP), as mentioned above.

If you have opted out of secondary uses of your GP record, then data from your GP record will not be extracted and uploaded to NHS Digital for these purposes.

You can read more about Type 1 secondary uses opt-outs here


Data Processors

Voyager Family Health uses data processors to perform certain administrative tasks for us, particularly where these involve large numbers of patients.

EMIS Health Ltd hosts our electronic GP patient records database at their secure servers in Leeds. As such, EMIS is acting as the data processor.

We have a contract with Docmail Ltd to permit them to send out letters from the surgery to patients, for example, to invite them for a flu vaccination. We provide names and addresses only, and a template letter, to Docmail, who then create and post the letters out.


Opting back into data sharing schemes

You can opt back into any of the above-mentioned schemes, at any time by speaking to a member of staff

If you are not sure what you have already opted out from, then please do contact our Practice Management team.


Confidentiality

We provide a confidential service to all our patients, including under 16s. This means that you can tell others about a visit to the surgery, but we won’t.

You can be sure that anything you discuss with any member of this practice– family doctor, nurse or receptionist – will stay confidential.

Even if you are under 16 nothing will be said to anyone – including parents, other family members, care workers or tutors – without your permission. The only reason why we might have to consider passing on confidential information without your permission would be to protect you or someone else from serious harm. We would always try to discuss this with you first.

Confidential patient data will be shared with the healthcare team at the practice, including nursing staff, admin staff, secretaries and receptionists, and with other healthcare professionals to whom a patient is referred. Those individuals have a professional and contractual duty of confidentiality.

All of our medical records are held on the surgery server. We do not hold any records on laptops, USB sticks or other portable devices.


If you would like any further information about primary or secondary uses of your GP record, opting out, the NHS Databases, access to your medical record, confidentiality, or about any other aspect of NHS data sharing, then please do contact the Practice Management Team at the surgery