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News

  • Changes to how Data is extracted and used
    The way your data is extracted and used will be changing (NB JUST DELAYED BY 2MONTHS!)
    In this article, we’ll be discussing your personal data – your medical record -held in our GP computer record system.

    We currently share your personal health data for your own health and social care needs –
    ‘direct care purposes’. This is of course vital when we want to refer you, order an investigation, send a prescription to a pharmacy, liaise with others involved in providing care to you etc. In fact we cannot provide safe care without letting other authorised people involved in your care have this essential information (for instance about important medical conditions, previous operations, allergies, medication, contact details etc). We enter into legally binding Sharing Agreements with organisations involved in your care to ensure good governance.

    We also share some of your personal data for
    Research and Planning purposes and for Public Health (eg in the present pandemic) and there are various legal requirements and safeguards for us to do this. Most of it is used anonymously but it can be made individually identifiable where there is a valid and necessary reason. This is data extraction and use permitted under the Health & Care Act 2012 and we also have to comply with the Data Protection Act 2018, GDPR and a number of other legal frameworks and much guidance.

    We outline in this website (
    Medical Records & Confidentiality section) the data we already provide. It has made major contributions to medical research (by universities, research bodies, pharmaceutical companies etc) and has helped the NHS plan and commission services, map the spread of infectious diseases and so on. In other words, the data is essential for the advancement of medicine and building and administering a better NHS.

    The different mechanisms for extracting this data from our GP record system are now going to be brought into one new system, the GPDPR ‘GP Data for Planning & Research’ and it will operate slightly differently.

    As Data Controllers, we are responsible for protecting your data and have to abide by all the stringent legal and procedural requirements and monitor the processes to ensure compliance. We also have a duty to inform all of our patients how their data will be used and their right to opt out.

    Our
    Privacy Notice explains what personal data we hold and with whom and why we might share these data. It also explains your right to withhold consent from sharing these data for Research and Planning purposes (you cannot withdraw your consent for sharing for Direct Care purposes as we would not be able to safely care for you).

    Under the GPDPR, once the data has been extracted from our system, NHS Digital will become the Data Controller and will be responsible for granting access and for disseminating these data. They assure us the data will never be used for marketing or insurance purposes and will not be sold. An independent body scrutinising proper use of the data, IGARD (Independent Group Advising on the Release of Data), will include representatives from the GP community, BMA etc.
    This video outlines briefly how NHS Digital handles your data. GPDPR is explained more fully in this NHSD link.

    The first extract for data from GP systems will take place on July 1st.

    Your name and address will NOT be collected. The data will be in
    pseudonymised form, meaning that some of the identifiers such as DoB, NHS number and postcodes will be replaced by unique codes which will require special decoding software keys to read them. If there are valid and necessary reasons, the codes may be broken to allow authorised bodies access to trace the data back to individuals.

    The data extracted will be coded information about any medical conditions, symptoms, medication, tests, allergies etc and details of any staff treating you. It will also include your gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

    Many items will NOT be extracted from your record. These include free-text comments and notes (a large part of our medical records), correspondence, documents, photos, unnecessary data over 10 years old, certain legally embargoed information such as gender reassignment and IVF treatment.

    Withdrawing your consent to sharing

    To withdraw your consent for your personal data to be shared for Research and Planning you need to opt out. There are two types of Opt-out.
    • Type 1 Opt-out prevents NHS Digital from extracting and sharing any of your personal information.
    • National Data Opt-out allows NHS Digital to extract your data but prevents them sharing anything that could be linked with you personally.

    For more information on the use of your data and these Opt-outs read the NHS Digital Transparency Notice

    To apply a Type 1 Opt-out you need to complete this form and send it to us. We enter a code into your computer record to activate this. You can do this any time but best before the first extraction on July 1st.

    To apply a National Data Opt-out you need to complete this web-form or downloading and completing this form which is sent back to the NHS Digital (not to the practice). Your decision is recorded on the national system. You can do this any time.

    There are some legal over-rides to your choices, for instance by court order, where there is an over-riding public interest (eg during the Covid-19 pandemic), when any information that could link you to your information is removed and where there are some
    specific exclusions

    Full details on data sharing is in the
    NHS Digital Transparency Notice
  • Self-referral physio available
    Here you can add a short description for your article, something to grab the users attention
    A new physio service is available locally providing a much more rapid response than in the past.
    Hands on therapy isn't always needed and much of the success of physio depends on the patient carrying our regular exercises and making adjustments. The fantastic range of online resources provided - videos, articles and guides - will help and there are also group sessions, one to ones and referrals on to investigations and specialists in the few cases this is needed.
    Here is a leaflet explaining the new service and have a look on our Physiotherapy page for more details and links.
  • New cervical smear service
    Having trouble booking a cervcial smear to ft your busy life?
    This new service will allow you to book your essential smear test in the evening or at weekends. Please ask to be booked at reception.

  • Kingsbury Vaccine Centre closes after 40,000 vaccinations
    Our local Covid Vaccine centre at Kingsbury Temple (Shree Swaminarayan Mandir) has just closed after 40,000 successful covoid vaccinations
    Your new local Covid Vaccine centre opened on January 28th at Kingsbury Temple (Shree Swaminarayan Mandir) on Kingsbury Rd and closed in June to hand back to the community who need it for sports and events. We must thank them for their enthusiasm and generosity in manning the centre with volunteers and helping on so many fronts.
    Run by our local Harness GP Primary Care Network, of which Willow Tree is a member, we have been vaccinating around 1,000 people a day.
    Here's a BBC News item about it:
    www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000rqv4
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  • e-Consult and the change to 'Digital First'
    The surgery has significantly changed the way it works - no more direct GP appointment booking.....

    From June 1st we changed the way the surgery works.

    From June 2020, we changed the way we offer appointments for our GPs.

    • All requests for GP appointments will be assessed after completing an eConsult form online – there is a link on the home page of our website.(Online booking is switched off so you will no longer be able to simply book an appointment )
    • This will ensure you get the most appropriate help from the most appropriate person: the GP will quickly review your request and may offer you a face to face appointment at the surgery, a telephone or video call, send an SMS message with advice, send a prescription to the pharmacy, maybe order tests or a referral.
    • We shall respond to requests as needed: before the end of the next working day, at the latest (6.30pm) but mostly the same day.
    • Those without internet or who prefer not to complete an eConsult will be assisted in other ways - you can still phone the surgery and a Patient Services Team member will help you.
    • Parents can use eConsult for children from 6m (under 6m will still have to be by phone contact) until 18y.
    • Young people can send their own eConsult from aged 16y (from the 'I want help for my child' selection) .

    Why are we changing?
    This is in line with a ‘Digital First’ strategy for Primary care in the NHS Long Term Plan. We have brought forward these changes due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
    We need to remain flexible and resilient as the lockdown measures ease – there will be a large backlog of work and we’ll need to prioritize. Many people will still be reluctant or unsafe to leave home to come to the surgery so we need to be able to respond appropriately to meet everyone’s needs.
    We also need a system which will allow us to cope with any further waves of Covid.

    How will it affect me?
    We hope the new system aims to provide a better, more responsive service:
    • Having information about your concerns in advance helps us deliver the best help to you quickly and may avoid an unnecessary wait for an appointment and trip to the surgery.
    • Reduce phone-call waiting times and free up capacity for those who require telephone contact.
    • Allow more time for face to face consultations.

    What about routine appointments for my Long Term Condition?
    Medical conditions such as Diabetes, COPD, Hypertension and so on require regular routine checks and we’ll continue to call you up for these in the usual way based around your birthday. We’ll also call you as usual for routine Medication reviews at regular intervals.

    Will I still be able to see a Doctor face to face?
    Yes but perhaps not so often. We shall have precautions in place to ensure it is safe to see a doctor when necessary, and we shall assess the need through eConsult, phone and video calls.
    Traditionally patients came to see the doctor for everything but times are changing and we know much of our care can be delivered more efficiently and this will benefit everyone, for instance by saving you booking an appointment, taking time off work and travelling to the surgery.

    What about nurse appointments, phlebotomy and so on?
    For the time being these will continue to be booked through Patient Access online booking, telephone and some eConsult.

    What about Admin requests?
    All of these should come through eConsult now- whether you need a certificate, letter, form filling etc. Anything really!

    I am worried about this
    It will take some getting used to – by all of us! We shall continually review the situation and adjust it depending on how everyone finds it. Your feedback will be very important, so please do let us know your thoughts and any ideas you have.

    Link to eConsult

    This short video explains what eConsult is and how it works

    When you fill in an eConsult, you may be simply asking for admin help but if medical advice or attention, but you also have available a fantastic array of self-help material; simple problems often do not need a GP.

    What if I can't use the internet? If you are unable to use the internet you can still phone us and our receptionists will ask the same questions as the eConsult to guide the doctors to your best treatment.

    The system is ideal for admin queries too and we hope all requests for certificates, letters and other queries go through this system in order to give the best and swiftest attention to your problem.

    Nurse appointments and blood tests will still be available through Patient but appointments for GPs will remain switched off.

    We've been using eConsult for well over a year and our experience tells us this will give many advantages to patients and the practice. As we move into the gradual lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, we'll need to operate as flexibly and efficiently as possible as the virus will still be around for a long time to come and the situation will remain fluid.

    The best way to integrate eConsult and Patient is to use the new NHS App (no, not the Covid one!). Once you're signed in you'll also be logged in to all NHS services. You can download this from the Apple App Store or Google Play for Android.

  • 'Choose wisely'
    The NHS will no longer be prescribing medicines you can buy

    The NHS in NW London CCGs: Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, and Westminster spent over £13 million in 2016 on products that can be bought without a prescription at community pharmacies.

    The NHS is under pressure. Our budgets are not large enough to pay for all the treatments the public would like us to provide. We would therefore like to spend less on medicines you can buy without a prescription so as to free up funds for other valuable NHS services.

    So practices across North West London - and across the country- are being asked to stop routinely prescribing medicines which are available to buy over the counter in pharmacies (and, in the case of some medicines, in supermarkets and other shops too). If a medicine you need can be bought without a prescription, your GP may ask if you are willing to buy it. If you are not willing to buy it, it will be prescribed.

    The following groups are exempt: School children, if the product needs to be given at school, Care home residents, Individuals with funded care packages where a carer is required to administer a medicine or product, Anyone officially declared homeless, People with a diagnosis of dementia, People with a diagnosed learning disability.‚Äč

    More details about these medicines

    Here is a list of commonly prescribed medicines which are available without a prescription

  • Keep up to date with BBC Health news
    The BBC Health news pages from a useful digest of current news stories
Disclaimer This website is to inform our patients of our services and provide general educational material concerning health. Any information, opinions, data or images are provided in good faith for the interest and benefit of our patients and not for any commercial gain. We are not offering professional advice concerning the particulars of any individual's health and cannot be responsible for the accuracy of the information presented or the content and reliability of information on linked external sites and request that you make your own judgements and use the information at your own risk. We cannot always keep all the information up to date, though we try our best. If you have any concerns about any of the content on this site, broken links etc please contact us.

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