Monday, September 21, 2015

Had a phone call or visit from someone and they seem to know your medical history?

HomeThis advice sheet from NHS England South (SW) has been produced with the kind permission of the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre

Recently in the South West, NHS England South SW have received a number of reports from GP Practices regarding patients who have been “cold called” by representatives of various companies. These callers (both by phone and in person), seem to know the patient’s medical history and sometimes say that this information has been obtained from the GP Practice. No GP Practice will ever divulge your medical history.

If you receive such a call please report it to:
ActionFraud either via the online fraud reporting form or make your report by calling 0300 123 2040.

Who is National Fraud Intelligence Bureau?
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) sits alongside Action Fraud within the City of London Police which is the national policing lead for fraud.

Protect yourself from Fraud
Although fraud comes in many forms, there are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself from the crime.

1. Do not give any personal information (name, address, bank details, email or phone number) to organisations or people before verifying their credentials.

2. Many frauds start with a phishing email. Remember that banks and financial institutions will not send you an email asking you to click on a link and confirm your bank details. Do not trust such emails, even if they look genuine. You can always call your bank using the phone number on a genuine piece of correspondence, website (typed directly into the address bar) or the phone book to check if you’re not sure.

3. Destroy and preferably shred receipts with your card details on and post with your name and address on. Identity fraudsters don’t need much information in order to be able to clone your identity.
4. Make sure your computer has up-to-date anti-virus software and a firewall installed. Ensure your browser is set to the highest level of security notification and monitoring to prevent malware issues and computer crimes.

5. Sign-up to Verified by Visa or MasterCard Secure Code whenever you are given the option while shopping online. This involves you registering a password with your card company and adds an additional layer of security to online transactions with signed-up retailers.

6. If you receive bills, invoices or receipts for things you haven’t bought, or financial institutions you don’t normally deal with contact you about outstanding debts, take action. Your identity may have been stolen.

7. You should regularly get a copy of your credit file and check it for entries you don’t recognise. Callcredit, Equifax and Experian can all provide your credit file. An identity protection service such as ProtectMyID monitors your Experian credit report and alerts you by email or SMS to potential fraudulent activity. If it's fraud, a dedicated caseworker will help you resolve everything.

8. Be extremely wary of post, phone calls or emails offering you business deals out of the blue. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Always question it.

9. If you have been a victim of fraud, be aware of fraud recovery fraud. This is when fraudsters pretend to be a lawyer or a law enforcement officer and tell you they can help you recover the money you’ve already lost.

10. If you need advice about fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to discuss your situation with one of our specialist fraud advisers. To report a fraud, you can either use our online fraud reporting form or make your report by calling 0300 123 2040.

CLICK HERE to Report Fraud and Cyber Crime | Action Fraud

Monday, September 14, 2015

Housing Development Proposals - practice statement

We are increasingly asked for our views about the various developments, planning applications and proposals in and around Ottery St Mary.   We are also concerned that there are statements around to say that we are at capacity.  We do appreciate and understand the anxiety building proposals can bring upon the local community who are quite rightly concerned about existing infrastructure and over development of towns and villages.  On that basis, the GP Partners at Coleridge Medical Centre  have put together the following statement :

NHS England invests in practices on a per patient basis, so there is an investment mechanism for coping with increased population.  If a practice reaches ‘capacity’, then NHS England has the responsibility to commission additional capacity.  For example, this might mean additional investment in premises to cover expansion.

Our practice remains open to new patients.  We, like the rest of the NHS, are affected by an increase in workload and by difficulties in recruiting doctors and nurses.  These factors amongst other things have certainly impacted on the traditional ways of working and the access arrangements that patients have been used to.   However, we have developed a system to maintain the safety of our service and ensure that access to our clinicians is prioritised in line with patients’ individual needs and to make best use of our staff skills.  This is not about restricting access to GPs; it is about providing good, safe care to patients using a highly-skilled and dedicated team of clinical professionals. 

Furthermore, we have policies in place to assist in regulating our list size.  Therefore we are not taking part in the voluntary NHS scheme to allow out-of-area patients to register with us and we usually insist that patients leaving our practice area register with a practice closer to their new home.

We are currently in negotiation with Clinton Devon Estates and NHS England to build a new, larger branch surgery for Newton Poppleford.   The branch surgery is the subject of a bid for infrastructure funding which has been endorsed in principle by NHS England and is currently going through a ‘due diligence’ process ahead of final approval.  The intention would be to move from the existing small branch surgery to a new purpose-built one, which would offer increased capacity.

In the mean time, we would also encourage our patients to help us in the following ways:
  • Look after your own health and please do use our ‘stop smoking’ service, take advantage of a free NHS health check and, if applicable, a carer’s health and well being check. 
  • Please don’t wait for us to contact you.  Instead please do book your flu vaccination and routine checks for chronic and long-term conditions – ask us when your next one is due.
  • Please attend your booked appointment at the allotted time and, if you need to, please cancel any unwanted appointments.   Our Nurse Manager recently reported that on the 2nd September 2015, a total of 80 minutes of practice nurse appointments were lost to patients who did not turn up.   
  • Please sign up to and use our online and automated systems, such as text reminders, online appointment booking, online ordering of repeat prescriptions and electronic prescription services.  You can also gain access to a summary of your own medical record.
  • Please plan ahead so that you do not run out of your repeat medications and please book in when asked to so that we can review your medication.    If your review is outstanding, we may not be able to continue to prescribe any more medication until we have seen you.
  • For advice on health conditions and the availability of local services, you can dial 111 at any time day or night. 

Sue Stokes
Practice Manager

They're back

Free seasonal flu vaccinations are now being offered to all eligible*patients. Please book your appointment by telephoning 01404 814447 (after 1030 am please).  Please do not wait for us to write to you.  

A flu vaccine is available free on the NHS if you are:

• are over 65 years old
• live in a residential or nursing home

Or if you suffer from any of the following conditions:

• Chronic respiratory disease
• Asthma
• Suppression of your immune system
(eg Splenectomy, Chemotherapy)
• Chronic heart disease
• Chronic renal failure
• Chronic liver disease
• Diabetes mellitus
• Stroke
• Multiple Sclerosis or Central Nervous System Degeneration

OR are:-

• A registered Carer
• Pregnant 

For more information on the Flu vaccination go to

Monday, September 7, 2015

"GPs hand over private medical records to insurers"

More in the press recently regarding medical records shared with insurance firms has prompted us to reassure our patients that we do not release any information to insurance companies unless we have their written consent to do so.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

NHS England Response to Daily Telegraph Article

We would like to make clear that the article published by the Daily Telegraph, ‘Tesco can see your medical records’ contains a number of inaccuracies.

The Summary Care Record (SCR) is used by healthcare professionals, on explicit consent of the patient, to support direct patient care.

While a regulated healthcare professional may have secure, controlled access to the SCR in a pharmacy within a supermarket as with any other pharmacy setting, this information is not accessible by other means and will never be available to supermarkets for other purposes, such as marketing.  The information can only be accessed through a secure, encrypted private network by authorised, regulated pharmacy professionals who have been carefully granted a pin-protected access card.

If a pharmacy professional shared confidential patient information for any purpose other than direct care, they can be held liable in law and held to account by the General Pharmaceutical Council, which has the legal authority to apply sanctions, up to and including withdrawal of their license to practice.

There are specific processes in place which means accesses to SCR are monitored to make sure they are appropriate and are only made for patients when there is a clinical need.

NHS England commissioned the Health and Social Care Information Centre to complete a pilot project which enabled 140 pharmacies to access SCR. A report of the findings from this project, which the article states has been ‘seen by the Daily Telegraph’ demonstrates significant benefits to patients, pharmacy and general practice. The report was made public on our website on 23 June 2015.

As part of this project, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) consulted with a broad range of stakeholders and received endorsement from the Patients Association, Parkinsons UK, Age UK, National Voices, Diabetes UK and Asthma UK. In addition local patient groups in the Proof Of Concept areas were consulted during the project and were supportive. Additionally in each of the five pilot areas, local patient groups were consulted.

The project followed the necessary approval by the Summary Care Record Expert Advisory Committee. The panel is made up of representatives from key stakeholder organisations covering different professional groups and different patient representative bodies. These representatives carried out consultations with their respective organisations regarding community pharmacy access to SCR.

Additionally, patients have been informed about SCR through a national Patient Information Programme and have the choice of opting out of having a SCR. Patients that have a SCR created for them will continue to be asked for their explicit consent to view their SCR by healthcare professionals, for the purpose of clinical care only..
Finally, the SCR programme is not a forerunner to is a programme aiming to join up data across hospitals and general practice and make it available to the people who can use it to make services better – clinicians, commissioners, researchers, charities, patients and public. The Summary Care Record is for the use of clinicians for providing direct patient care, and is not used for any other purpose.