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Ballyduff medical centre wants to ensure the highest standard of medical care for our patients.  We understand that confidentially is a fundamental principle of medical ethics and is central to the trust between patient and doctors. The privacy practices we adopt in our practice are in line with the medical council guidelines.  The privacy principles of the General Data Protection Legislation for Irish General Practice.  We see our patients’ consent as being the key factor in dealing with their health information.  It is not possible to undertake medical care without collecting and processing personal data and data concerning health. In fact, to do so, we would be in breach of the medical council’s guide to professional conduct and ethics for Doctors.  This statement is about making consent meaningful by advising you of our policies and practices on dealing with your medical information.


This practice has voluntarily signed up for the ICGP Data Protection Guidelines for GP’s.  the processing of personal data in general practice is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the patients and for the provision of health care and public health. You can access the guidelines at  In most circumstances we hold your data until 8 years after your death or 8 years since your last contact with the practice.  There are exceptions to this rule and these are described in the guideline referenced above.

In order to provide your care here at Ballyduff Medical Centre, we need to collect and keep information about you and your health for our records.

  • We commit to retaining your information securely. We will only ask for, and keep information that is necessary.  We will attempt to keep it as accurate and up-to-date a possible.  We will explain the need for any information we ask for if a patient is not sure why it is needed.
  • We ask you to inform us about any relevant changes that we should know about. This would include things such as any new treatments or investigations being carried out that we are not aware of.  Please also inform us of changes of address and or phone numbers.
  • All persons in our practice (not already covered by the professional confidentially code) sign a confidentially agreement that explicitly states information and the consequences of breaching that duty.
  • Access to patient records is regulated to ensure that they are used only to the extent necessary to enable the employee in question, whether a secretary, manager or health care professional perform their tasks for the proper functioning of the practice.  In this regard, patients should understand that practice staff may have access to their records for the following reasons:
    • Identifying and printing repeat prescriptions for patients. These are then reviewed and signed by a G{.
    • Generating a social welfare or sickness certificate for the patients.  This is then checked and signed by the GP.
    • Typing referral letters to hospitals, consultants, or allied health professional such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, and dieticians.
  • Opening from hospitals and consultants. The letters could be appended to a patient’s paper file, or scanned into their electronic patient records.
  • Scanning clinical letters, radiology reports and any other documents not available in electronic format.
  • Checking for a patient if a hospital or consultant letter is back or if a lab or radiology result is back in order to schedule a conversation with a GP.
  • When a patient makes contact with a practice, checking if they are due any preventative services, such as vaccination, antenatal visits, contraceptive pill check, cervical smear tests etc.
  • Handling, printing, photocopying and postage of medical, legal and life assurance reports and of associated documents.
  • Sending and receiving information via healthmail, secure clinical email address.
  • And any other activates related to the support of medical care appropriate for the practice support staff.


  • We may need to pass on some of this information to other health and social care professionals in order to provide you with the treatment and services you need. Only the relevant parts of your record will be released.  These other professionals are also legally bound to treat your information with the same duty of care and confidence that we do.


The law provides that in certain instances personal information including health information can be disclosed, for example, in the case of infectious diseases.  Disclosure of information to employer, insurance companies and solicitors.

  • In general, work related medical certificates from your GP will only provide a confirmation that you are unfit for work, with an indication of when you will be fit to resume work.
  • Where it is considered necessary to provide additional information, we will discuss that with you. However, social welfare certificates of incapacity for work must include the medical reason you are unfit to work
  • In the case of disclosures to insurance companies or requests made by a solicitor for your work records we will only release the information with your signed consent.

It is usual for GP’s to discuss patient case histories as part of their continuing medical education or for the purpose of training GP’s and/or medical students.  In these situations the identity of the patient concerned will not be revealed.

In other situations however, it may be beneficial for other doctors within the practice to be aware of patients with particular conditions and in such cases, this practice would only communicate the information necessary to provide the highest level of care for the patient.
It is usual for patients information to be used for these purposes in order to improve services and standards of practice.  GP’s on the specialist GP register of the medical council are required to perform audits.  Information used for such purposes is done in an anonymous manner with all personal identifying information removed.

If it were proposed to use information a way where it would not be anonymous or the practice was involved in external research we would discuss this further with you before we proceeded and seek your written informed consent.  Please remember that the quality of the patient service provided can only be maintained and improved by training, teaching, auditing and research.


You have a legal right to access all of your personal information held about you by this practice.  If you wish to see your records, in most cases it is the quickest to discuss this with your doctor who will outline the information  in the records with you.  You can make a formal written access request  to the practice and the matter can be dealt with formally.


If you decide at any time and for whatever reason to transfer to another records on receipt of your signed consent from your new doctor.  for r practice we will facilitate that decision by making available to your new doctor.  A copy of your records on receipt in this practice for an appropriate period of time which may exceed 8 years.


You have other rights under the data protection regulations in relation to transfer of data to a third country.  The right to rectification or erasure, restriction of processing, objection to processing and data portability.  Further information on these rights in the context of General Practice is described in the guideline available at

You also have the right to lodge a complaint with the Data Protection Commissioner.

 We hope this statement has explained any issues that might arise.  If you have any questions, please speak to the practice secretaries, or the practice doctors.