You can be assured that anything you discuss with any member of the surgery staff, whether doctor, nurse or receptionist, will remain confidential. Even if you are under 16, nothing will be said to anyone, including parents, other family members, care workers or teachers, without your permission. The only reason why we might want to consider passing on confidential information without your permission would be to protect either you or someone else from serious harm. In this situation, we would always try to discuss this with you first.

If you have any worries or queries about confidentiality, please ask a member of staff.

If you would like to discuss matters of a confidential nature, either with our receptionists or a member of the dispensary team, we have a side room available in reception for this purpose.


Confidentiality Policy our Staff follow

In the course of your employment or associated work with the Practice, you may have access to, see or hear, confidential information concerning the medical or personal affairs of patients, staff or associated healthcare professionals. Unless acting on the instructions of an authorised officer within the practice, on no account should such information be divulged or discussed except in the performance of your normal duties. Breach of confidence, including the improper passing of registered computer data, will result in disciplinary action, which may lead to your dismissal.

 You should also be aware that regardless of any action taken by the Practice, a breach of confidence could result in a civil action against you for damages.

 You must ensure that all records, including VDU screens and computer printouts of registered data, are never left in such a manner that unauthorised persons can obtain access to them. VDU screens must always be cleared when left unattended and you must ensure you log out of computer systems, removing your password. All computer passwords must be kept confidential.

 No unauthorised use of the internet or email is allowed.

 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.

 Information concerning patients or staff is strictly confidential and must not be disclosed to unauthorised persons. This obligation shall continue in perpetuity. 

 Disclosures of confidential information or disclosures of any data of a personal nature can result in prosecution for an offence under the data protection legislation in addition to any disciplinary action taken by Practice.