When you register with us and give us your telephone number and email address (or whenever you wish to update your details), you are giving us your permission to contact you for medical reasons, when you have a review due, or regarding an appointment you may have, etc. When sending or leaving messages, we will just say that we are trying to contact you so you may call us back at a more convenient time. We may send a text message to your mobile number if we are unable to get hold of you or leave a message. We may also pass on your contact details on to other NHS or NHS-affiliated services when referring you. This is the minimum level of contact we must have in order to provide medical services to you.
Other options are for you to allow us to contact you with questionnaires/surveys about the services we provide or health services in the local area.
We will never pass your details on to any other person or organisation, except where stated above or if we are legally obliged to do so, unless you give us permission.
From time to time we need to send messages to lots of patients, for example during the 'flu season, where we send letters out to 'at-risk' patients who would benefit from vaccination inviting them to book an appointment. Sending mailings to large numbers of people is always very costly in both time and resources as we have to produce the lists of patients, print letters, fill envelopes and pay for postage. It doesn't sound much until you have to do this for 7000 letters!
There are three ways of reducing the costs practices incur:
- encourage as many patients to book appointments before sending reminder letters by advertising in the surgery or on repeat prescription requests. This reduces the number of letters needed to be sent.
- use a third party company specialising in large mailings, which can print, fold and post a letter for the cost of a stamp.
- send reminders through email or SMS text message
We advertise 'flu clinics first and then do our own mailings, bearing all the costs. However we are aware that costs must be saved so that as much of the NHS's money is spent on caring for patients. Option 2 company known as DocMail has been approved by Connecting For Health. This company has achieved compliance with all the requirements set out by the Department of Health regarding using/keeping/deleting data sent to it and it is used by a number of GP surgeries and health organisations throughout the country. Option 3 company known as PatientChase has also been approved by GP Systems of Choice (aka GPSOC) and has also achieved compliance with all the requirements set out by the Department of Health regarding using/keeping/deleting data sent to it and it is used by a number of GP surgeries and health organisations throughout the country.
Information sent to the company is encrypted and consists of the letter we would want to send together with a list of names and addresses we want that letter to go to. No other information is given to the company. The company does not share the information with anyone else and deletes the data after 28 days.
If you have any questions, please ask to speak to a member of the Management Team