Scope of the policy
Why this policy exists
This data protection policy ensures that JP:
- complies with data protection law and follows good practice
- protects the rights of patients
- is open about how she stores and processes patients’ data
- protects herself from the risks of a data breach
Data protection principles
The General Data Protection Regulation identifies 8 data protection principles.
Principle 1 - Personal data shall be processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner
Principle 2 - Personal data can only be collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes.
Principle 3 - The collection of personal data must be adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary compared to the purpose(s) data is collected for.
Principle 4 – Personal data held should be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date. Every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data that are inaccurate are erased or rectified without delay.
Principle 5 – Personal data which is kept in a form which permits identification of individuals shall not be kept for longer than is necessary.
Principle 6 - Personal data must be processed in accordance with the individuals’ rights.
Principle 7 - Personal data must be processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures.
Principle 8 - Personal data cannot be transferred to a country or territory outside the European Union unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of individuals in relation to the processing of personal data.
Certain of these principles are expanded upon in the sections that follow.
Lawful, fair and transparent data processing
JP requests personal information from patients and potential patients for the purpose of consulting with them and providing them with advice and guidance on homeopathic treatments. The forms used to request personal information contain a privacy statement informing patients and potential patients why the information is being requested and what the information will be used for. Patients should be asked to provide consent for their data to be held and a record of this consent along with patient information will be securely held. Patients will be informed that they can, at any time, remove their consent and will be informed as to what to do should they wish to do so.
Processed for Specified, Explicit and Legitimate Purposes
Patients will be informed how their information will be used and JP will seek to ensure that patients’ information is not used inappropriately. Appropriate use of information provided by patients includes:
- Communicating with patients in order to make, change or cancel consultations
- Assessing the conditions and issues reported by patients and devising and prescribing relevant remedies and therapies.
JP will ensure that patients’ information is managed in such a way as to not infringe an individual’s rights, which include:
- The right to be informed
- The right of access
- The right to rectification
- The right to restrict processing
- The right to data portability
- The right to object.
Adequate, Relevant and Limited Data Processing
JP’s patients will only be asked to provide information that is relevant to support consultations and prescriptions. This includes:
- Date of birth
- Postal address
- Email address
- Telephone number
- Medical history.
Where additional information may be required, this will be obtained with the specific consent of the patient who will be informed as to why this information is required and the purpose for which it will be used.
There may be occasional instances where a patient’s information needs to be shared with a third party due to an accident or incident involving statutory authorities. Where it is in the best interests of the patient or of JP, in these instances where JP has a substantiated concern then consent does not have to be sought from the individual.
Accuracy of Data and Keeping Data up to Date
JP has a responsibility to ensure that patients’ information is kept up to date. Patients will be required to let JP know if any of their personal information changes.
Accountability and Governance
JP is responsible for ensuring that her practice remains compliant with data protection requirements and can provide evidence that it has. For this purpose, those from whom data is required will be asked to provide written consent. The evidence of this consent will then be securely held as evidence of compliance.
JP has a responsibility to ensure that data is both securely held and processed. This includes:
- using strong passwords for information held within computer systems
- restricting access to computer and paper-based files
- using password protection on laptops and PCs that contain or access personal information
- using password protection or secure cloud systems
- providing adequate virus-protection and firewall software to secure computer-based systems.
Subject Access Request
JP’s patients are entitled to request access to the information that is held by her. The request needs to be received in the form of a written request to JP.
On receipt of the request, the request will be formally acknowledged and dealt with within 14 days unless there are exceptional circumstances as to why the request cannot be granted. JP will provide a written response detailing all information held on the individual. A record shall be kept of the date of the request and the date of the response.
Data Breach Notification
Were a data breach to occur, action shall be taken to minimise the harm. JP will inform any patients where she believes their personal information has been compromised. Where necessary, the Information Commissioner's Office will be notified.
If a patient contacts JP to say that they feel that there has been a breach by JP, she will ask the patient to provide an outline of their concerns. If the initial contact is by telephone, JP will ask the patient to follow this up with an email or a letter detailing their concern. The concern will then be investigated fully and a response made to the patient. Breach matters will be subject to a full investigation, records will be kept and all those involved notified of the outcome.
Policy review date: Every 2 years, May 2020