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Freedom of Information

ELLON GROUP PRACTICE Publication Scheme
Produced as required by the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002
 
Index
Section 1    Introduction to the publication scheme
Section 2    About Ellon Group Practice
Section 3    Preparing the publication scheme
Section 4    Accessing information under the scheme
Section 5    Information that we may withhold
Section 6    Our charging policy
Section 7    Our copyright policy
Section 8    Our records management and disposal policy
Section 9    Feedback
Section 10  Complaints
Section 11  How to access information which is not available under this scheme  
Section 12  Classes of information
  
 
Section 1: Introduction to the publication scheme
 
The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) provides individuals with a right of access to recorded information held by Scotland's public authorities. Anyone can use this right, and information can only be withheld where FOISA expressly permits it. FOISA provides that GPs are public authorities, to a certain extent, and you will have a right to access certain information held by GPs. A large proportion of the recorded information held by GPs is personal information contained in medical records. Personal information can be withheld under FOISA, but you have rights to access your own medical records under other legislation and this is explained in this scheme.
  
Section 23 of FOISA also requires that all Scottish public authorities maintain a publication scheme.  A publication scheme sets out the types of information that a public authority routinely makes available.   This scheme has been approved by the Scottish Information Commissioner, who is responsible for enforcing FOISA.  We are also obliged to review this scheme from time to time.
 
The purpose of the scheme is to provide you with details of the range of information that we routinely publish.  The scheme also provides details of how you can access this information, and tells you whether it is available free, or if there is a charge for the information.  With this scheme we aim to improve public access to the information we hold and to encourage public awareness, and participation in, the decisions we make.
Alongside FOISA, the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (the EIRs) provide a separate right of access to the environmental information that we hold.  This publication scheme also contains details of the environmental information that we routinely make available.
 
Where information is not published under this scheme, you can request it from us under FOISA or, in the case of environmental information, the EIRs.  For further information on accessing information not covered by this scheme, refer to Section 11 - How to access information not available under the scheme.
 
Section 2: About ELLON GROUP PRACTICE
 
The National Health Service Scotland is the publically funded healthcare service for Scotland.  The provision of healthcare is the responsibility of 14 geographically based NHS boards and a number of Special Health Boards.  Details of NHS Scotland's organisation can be found at http://www.show.scot.nhs.uk/organisations/index.aspx. 
 
NHS Boards contract with GP practices to provide primary care services to patients.  Ellon Group Practice holds a General Medical Services contract with NHS Grampian.  Under this contract we provide primary medical services to patients on our practice list.
 
Who we are
Ellon Group Practice, The Health Centre, Schoolhill, Ellon, AB41 9JH.
  
The Practice is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm.
 
The Partnership of Ellon Group Practice is contracted by the NHS to provide General Medical Services to patients.  There are 9 GP partners and 2 salaried GP's at Ellon Group Practice.  The following staff are employed by the Partnership, 1 Practice Manger, 1 Office Manager, 16 Administrative staff, 1 Lead Practice Nurse, 5 Practice Nurses, 2 Treatment Room Nurses.
 
If the surgery is closed an answering machine will give you the emergency contact number for the Out of Hours Service - NHS 24 Telephone 111.
 
Patients living in the areas of Ellon, Foveran, Newburgh and Auchnagatt may register at Ellon Group Practice.  A map of the geographical area covered by Ellon Group Practice is available in the Practice Reception.
 
Dr Kam speaks Cantonese and Dr Maria speaks Arabic.  A telephone based interpreting service is available for non English speaking patients. 
Please request this service when booking an appointment.
 
Practice Leaflets can be obtained from Reception at Ellon Group Practice. The leaflet contains information relating to Practice Staff, Health Centre opening times, consulting times, patients rights and responsibilities, appointments and house visits, telephone times, out of hours service, how to obtain repeat prescriptions and results of tests.  You can also obtain information from our practice website address www.ellonmedicalpractice.co.uk
 
Our services
 
General practitioners are registered with the General Medical Council and follow the standards and good medical practice guidelines laid down by the GMC, including the requirements set out in the GMC guidance Duties of a Doctor
(http://www.gmc-uk.org/guidance/good_medical_practice/duties_of_a_doctor.asp).  This practice is required to provide primary medical services to the standard laid down in our contract with the NHS board.  This practice participates in the Quality and Outcomes Framework established under current General Medical Services contract (from 1 April 2004).  Funding under the QOF is dependent on achievement against a variety of clinical and non-clinical indicators.  This practice aims to take account of NHS Quality and Improvement Scotland standards and guidance, Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) guidelines relevant to general practice, and Scottish Government Health Directorates service strategies and frameworks.
 
All practices are subject to a contract review conducted by their NHS board to ensure the practice is meeting the requirements of its contract. 
 
Under our contract with NHS Grampian we provide a range of services to our patients, including:
 
General Primary Medical Services, Child Health Surveillance, Contraceptive Services, Maternity Medical Services, Minor Surgery Services, Influenza and Pneumococcal Immunisation Service, Alcohol Screening and Brief Interventions, Anti-coagulant/INR, Cardiac Failure, Care Homes, Childhood Vaccinations and Immunisations, Dermatology, Diabetes, Monitoring of Disease Modifying Drugs (DMARDS), Drugs Misuse, Extended Hours, Minor Injury, Provision of Neonatal Checks, Medical Orthopaedics, Osteoporosis, Palliative Care, Ring/Shelf Pessary Services.  We also have clinics for the following: Asthma and COPD, Cervical Cytology, Heart Disease, Diabetes, Cryotherapy, Immunisations.  Other healthcare professionals available are Speech Therapy, Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Community Dental, Dietetic, Baby Clinic, Psychiatric, Psychology, Counselling, Parent Craft, Community Paediatrics, Health Promotion Clinics, Disease Management Clinics.
 
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. Practices should highlight that some services may involve information sharing with other agencies and outline practice policy on data protection
   
Our decision making process
We have weekly Practice Meetings to discuss clinical, managerial and business matters.   Decisions are made by majority vote of Partners.  All Partners are delegated non clinical managerial roles within the Practice.
Financial and funding information
Ellon Group Practice receives funding from NHS sources to provide NHS services to patients.  We do not charge patients for NHS services.  You can request details of our practice funding as outlined in Section 12 - Classes of Information.
  
Section 3: Preparing the publication scheme
  
This publication scheme is adapted from a model publication scheme produced by BMA Scotland and the Scottish General Practitioners Committee.  Ultimate responsibility for the model publication scheme rests with the British Medical Association.  BMA Scotland welcomes comments on the model publication scheme and is committed to revaluating the appropriateness of the model publication scheme on an ongoing basis.
 
The BMA model publication scheme was used as the basis for our practice publication scheme.  Both the model publication scheme and this publication scheme were produced with due regard to public interest in providing access to the information that we hold which relates to:
·         The services we provide
·         The costs of those services
·         The standard of those services
·         The facts that inform the important decision we take
·         The reasoning that informs our decisions
  
Section 4: Accessing Information under the scheme
 
Information available under our publication scheme will normally be available through the routes described below.  Section 12 - Classes of Information provides more details on the information available under the scheme, along with additional guidance on how the information falling with each "class" may be accessed.
 
Online 
Most information listed in our publication scheme is available to download from our practice website www.nhsgrampian.org/ellon.  If you have any difficulty accessing information online please contact us by an alternative route.
By email
You can request the information you seek by email at ellon.administrator@nhs.net, wherever possible.  When requesting information from us, please provide a telephone number so we can telephone you to clarify details, if necessary.
 
By phone
Information can also be requested from us over the telephone.  Please call 0845 337 1150 to request information available under this scheme.
 
By post
All information under the scheme will normally be available in paper copy form, but please consider the impact on the environment.  Please address your request to:
  
Practice Manager, Ellon Group Practice, The Health Centre, Schoolhill, Ellon, AB41 9JH.
 
When writing to us to request information, please include your name and address, full details of the information or documents you would like to receive, and any fee payable (see Section 6: Our charging policy for further information on fees).  Please also include a telephone number so we can telephone you to clarify any details, if necessary.
  
Advice and assistance
If you have any difficulty identifying the information you want to access, then please contact the practice by one of the methods listed above.
  
Section 5:  Information that we may withhold
 
All information covered by our publication scheme will be provided promptly following our receipt of your request.
 
Our aim in maintaining this publication scheme is to be as open as possible.  You should note, however, that there may be circumstances where information will be withheld from one of the classes of information listed in Section 12 - Classes of Information.  Information will only be withheld where permitted by FOISA.
 
Information may be withheld, for example, where its disclosure would breach the law of confidentiality or harm an organisation's commercial interests.  Information may also be withheld if it is another person's personal information, and its release would breach data protection legislation.   
Information would not be disclosed in the following examples:
  • Requests for information that is contained in patient medical records.  However, you do have the right to request your own medical records, see Section 11 - How to access information which is not available under this scheme.
  • Requests for information relating to private income of practice partners or practice staff

Requests for financial information that would likely prejudice substantially the commercial interests of any person

Additionally, section 25 of FOISA provides an absolute exemption which allows our practice to refuse to deal with a request where the requested information is already reasonably obtainable elsewhere, even where a fee may be charged.  Information provided in the publication scheme is considered reasonably obtainable.

Whenever information is withheld we will inform you of this, and will set out why it was not appropriate for that information to be disclosed.  Even where information is withheld it may, in many cases, be possible to provide copies with the withheld information edited out.

If you wish to complain about any information which has been withheld from you, please refer to Section 10 - Complaints.

Section 6: Our charging policy
 
Unless otherwise stated in Section 12 - Classes of Information, all information contained within our scheme is available from us free of charge where it can be downloaded from our website or  where it can be sent to you electronically by email.
  
We reserve the right to impose charges for providing information in paper copy.  Charges will reflect the actual costs of reproduction and postage to the practice, as set out below.
 
In the event that a charge is to be levied, you will be advised of the charge and how it has been calculated.  Information will not be provided to you until payment has been received.
Reproduction costs:
Where charges are applied, photocopied information will be charged at a standard rate of 15p per A4 paper (black and white copy) and 30p per A4 paper (colour copy).
  
 
Postage cost:
We will pass on postage charges to the requester at the cost to the practice of sending the information by first class post.
    
Section 7: Our copyright policy
 
Ellon Group Practice holds the copyright for the vast majority of information in this publication scheme.  All of this information can be copied or reproduced without our formal permission, provided it is copied or reproduced accurately, is not used in a misleading context, and provided that the source of the material is identified.
 
The publication scheme may, however, contain information where the copyright holder is not Ellon Group Practice.  In most cases the copyright holder will be obvious from the documents.  In cases where the copyright is unclear, however, it is the responsibility of the person accessing the information to locate and seek the permission of the copyright holder before reproducing the material or in any other way breaching the rights of the copyright holder.  Wherever possible, this scheme will indicate where we do not own the copyright on documents within Section 12 - Classes of Information.
Information about Crown copyright material is available on the website of the Queens Printer for Scotland at www.oqps.gov.uk.  We can provide you with a copy of this information if you do not have internet access.  
   
Section 8: Our records management and disposal policy
All information at the Ellon Group Practice is held, retained and destroyed in accordance with Scottish Government  Records Management: NHS Code of Practice (Scotland).  Confidentiality of patient information is maintained in accordance with the NHS (Scotland) Act 1978 Directions on the Confidentiality and Disclosure of Information: General Medical Services, Primary Medical Services Section 17C Agreements and Health Boards Primary Medical Services Contracts.  These documents are available on the NHS Scotland website (http://www.show.scot.nhs.uk/).
 
 
Section 9: Feedback
 
FOISA requires that we review our publication scheme from time to time.  As a result, we welcome feedback on how we can develop our scheme further.  If you would like to comment on any aspect of this publication scheme, then please contact us.  You may, for example wish to tell us about:  
  • other information that you would like to see included in the scheme
  •   whether you found the scheme easy to use
  •   whether you found the publication scheme useful
  •   whether our staff were helpful
  •   other ways in which our publication scheme can be improved

Please send any comments or suggestions to Practice Manager,
Ellon Group Practice, The Health Centre, Schoolhill, Ellon, AB41 9JH
or email ellon.administrator@nhs.net.
 

Section 10: Complaints
 
Our aim is to make our publication scheme as user-friendly as possible, and we hope that you can access all the information we publish with ease.   If you do wish to complain about any aspect of the publication scheme, however, then please contact us, and we will try and resolve your complaint as quickly as possible.  You can contact:
 
Practice Manager, Ellon Group Practice, Schoolhill, Ellon, AB41 9JH.
 
Any complaint will be acknowledged within three working days of receipt and we will respond in full within twenty working days. 
 
You have legal rights to access information under this scheme and a right of appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner if you are dissatisfied with our response.  These rights apply only to information requests made in writing* or another recordable format.  If you are unhappy with our responses to your request you can ask us to review it and if you are still unhappy, you can make an appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner.
 
The Commissioner's website has a guide to this three step process, and he operates an enquiry service on Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm.  His office can be contacted as follows:
 
Scottish Information Commissioner
Kinburn Castle
Doubledykes Road
St Andrews
Fife
KY16 9DS
Telephone        01334 464610
Email                 enquiries@itspublicknowledge.info
Website            www.itspublicknowledge.info
*verbal requests for environmental information carry similar rights.
 
Section 11: How to access information which is not available under this scheme
 
If the information you are seeking is not available under this publication scheme, then you may wish to request it from us.  The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) provides you with a right of access to the information we hold, subject to certain exemptions.  The Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs) separately provide a right of access to the environmental information we hold, while the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) provides a right of access to any personal information about you that we hold. Again, these rights are subject to certain exceptions or exemptions.
 
Should you wish to request a copy of any information that we hold that is not available under this scheme, please write to Practice Manager, Ellon Group Practice, Schoolhill, Ellon, AB41 9JH. 
 
Charges for information which is not available under the scheme
The charges for information which is available under this scheme are set out in Our Charging Policy.  Fees for information that is not available under this scheme are outlined in The Freedom of Information (Fees for Required Disclosure) (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (http://www.opsi.gov.uk/legislation/scotland/ssi2004/20040467.htm).  If you submit a request to us for information which is not available under the scheme the charges will be based on the following calculations:
 

General information requests

  • There will be a charge of £50 for a copy of your patient records.
  • We are not obliged to respond to requests which will cost us over £600 to process.
  • In calculating any fee, staff time will be calculated at actual cost per staff member hourly salary rate to a maximum of £20 per person per hour.
  • We do not charge for the time to determine whether we hold the information requested, nor for the time it takes to decide whether the information can be released. Charges may be made for locating, retrieving and providing information to you.
  • In the event that we decide to impose a charge we will issue you with notification of the charge (a fees notice) and how it has been calculated. You will have three months from the date of issue of the fees notice in which to decide whether to pay the charge. The information will be provided to you on payment of the charge. If you decide not to proceed with the request there will be no charge to you.

    Charges for environmental information

    We do not charge for the time to determine whether we hold the information requested, nor for the time it takes to decide whether the information can be released.

    In the event that we decide to impose a charge we will issue you with notification of the charge and how it has been calculated. The information will be provided to you on payment of the charge. If you decide not to proceed with the request there will be no charge to you.
     
    Charges are calculated on the basis of the actual cost to the authority of providing the information.
    • Photocopying is charged at 15p per A4 sheet for black and white copying, 30p per A4 sheet for colour copying.
    • Postage is charged at actual rate for first class mail.
    • Staff time is calculated at actual cost per staff member hourly salary rate to a maximum of £20 per person per hour.

      Where it would cost more than £600 to provide the information to you, however, we will ask you to pay the full cost of providing the information, with no waiver for any portion of the cost.      

      Requests for your own personal data:


      While you cannot request personal data under the FOISA you are entitled to request your own personal data under the DPA.  Under the DPA you can request your personal information from Ellon Group Practice.  We reserve the right to charge a maximum of £50 for requests for an individual's own personal information.

     
    Section 12: Classes of information
     
    The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act, 2002 requires a publication scheme to specify the classes of information the Public Authority already publishes or intends to publish.  Our intention is to publish as much information as possible where there is known to be public interest.  However, exemptions under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act, 2002 may allow us to withhold some information, as indicated in Section 5: Information that we may withhold.
     
    Our practice publishes, or intends to publish, information under the Classes listed below:
    a.       Who we are
    b.       Our services
    c.       Financial and funding information
    d.       Regular publications, promotional and advisory leaflets
    e.       Our policies and procedures
    f.         Complaints procedures


 
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