The practice complies with data protection and access to medical records legislation. Identifiable information about you will be shared with others in the following circumstances:
- To provide further medical treatment for you e.g. from district nurses and hospital services.
- To help you get other services e.g. from the social work department. This requires your consent.
- When we have a duty to others e.g. in child protection cases anonymised patient information will also be used at local and national level to help the Health Board and Government plan services e.g. for diabetic care.
If you do not wish anonymous information about you to be used in such a way, please let us know.
Reception and administration staff require access to your medical records in order to do their jobs. These members of staff are bound by the same rules of confidentiality as the medical staff.
Gender Recognition Act 2004
After a minimum of two years and if certain key criteria are met, some trans people can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) under the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) 2004. If granted, the person acquires all the legal rights and responsibilities of their new gender and can get a new birth certificate.
Section 22 of the GRA states that it is an offence for a person who has acquired protected information in an official capacity to disclose the information to any other person. “Protected information” is defined in Section 22(2) as information relating to a person who has applied for a gender recognition certificate under the Act, and which concerns that application (or a subsequent application by them), or their gender prior to being granted a full GRC. Section 22 therefore is a privacy measure that prevents officials from disclosing that a person has a trans history.
However, there are exemptions from Section 22 for medical professionals. Section 5 of Statutory Instrument 2005 No.635 provides an exemption that applies to: registered medical practitioners, dentists, pharmaceutical chemists, nurses, paramedics, operating department practitioners and trainees in these professions. The following circumstances must apply:
- The disclosure is made to a health professional;
- The disclosure is made for medical purposes; and
- The person making the disclosure reasonably believes that the subject has given consent to the disclosure or cannot give such consent.
All of the above must apply.
Patients should never be asked to produce a GRC to ‘prove’ their trans status. Trans people are not required to obtain a GRC: many simply choose not to while others may not (yet) meet the eligibility criteria. As a precautionary measure, it is good practice to apply the Section 5 criteria set out above to all disclosures of information about the trans status of a patient; it may not be accurately known whether the person has a GRC or not.
In addition, the general protocols on medical confidentiality and information governance apply to all patients whether they have a GRC or not. Good information governance around this is essential because unlawful and unwarranted disclosures of a person’s trans status leave GPs open to legal proceedings and can have serious and unforeseen consequences in ‘outing’ trans people.
General confidentiality statement
We hold your patient records in the strictest confidence, regardless of whether they are electronic or on paper. We take all reasonable precautions to prevent unauthorised access to your records, however they are stored. Any information that may identify you is only shared with the practice team, or, if you are referred to hospital, to the clinician who will be treating you. We will only share information about you with anyone else if you give your permission in writing.