Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The Care Record Guarantee

My good friend Harry Caton chairs the NIGB – oh what’s the NIGB? The NIBG is the National Information Governance Board for Health and Social Care – oh very clear! Well, it’s the body that ensures information about you and I, that is patients, is handled appropriately. It’s recently set out a Care Record Guarantee that aims to support the highest quality of healthcare. We also need information and evidence that will improve health and care through research so individual records are used for both planning personal care but also for understanding population healthcare.

The Guarantee states that the people who care for you use your records to:
  • Provide a good basis for all health decisions made by you and healthcare professionals;
  • Allow you to work with those providing care;
  • Make sure your care is safe and effective and
  • Work effectively with others providing you with care.

It’s important to appreciate that the records are now your records that we/healthcare professionals use to record your decisions and to try and improve your experience of care and clinical outcomes.

Others may also need to use records about you to:

  • Check the quality of care (such as clinical audit by, for instance, the Renal Registry);
  • Protect the health of the general public;
  • Keep track of NHS spending;
  • Manage the health service;
  • Help investigate any concerns or complaints your or your family may have about your healthcare;
  • Teach healthcare professionals; and
  • Help with research.

The law gives you the right to:

  • The common law duty of confidentiality;
  • Protection in the way information is handled under the Data Protection Act 1998; and
  • Privacy under the Human Rights Act 1998.

It also gives you the right to:

  • Ask for a copy of all records about you held in paper or electronic form (you may have to pay a fee); and
  • Choose someone to make decisions about your healthcare if you become unable to do so (this is called “lasting power of attorney”).

It’s good practice for people in the NHS who provide your care to:

  • Discuss and agree with you what they are going to record about you;
  • Give you a copy of letters they are writing about you; and
  • Show you what they have recorded about you, if you ask.

Many doctors and nurses now write directly to you as patients with a copy to the general practitioner or other specialists who may be involved in your care. Of course kidney patients in the UK are leading the way with over 10,000 users of renal patient view (RPV) and patients are working with the RPV team, supported by NHS Kidney Care, to expand what’s on offer through RPV to anyone with kidney disease.

Find out more about the commitments at http://www.nigb.nhs.uk/

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