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Practice Policies

Patient Registration Process 

We welcome requests for registration from patients living in or moving to the practice area.

Patients can register by completing a HS22X form. We are taking part in a pilot scheme at present, looking for ways to simplify the registration process and ensure that we register only those patients who are entitled to treatment on the NHS.

This form must be completed in full with any part that’s are not applicable to you clearly marked as N/A

Along with this form you will need to provide photographic id and proof of address, examples of what is acceptable are listed on the form but if you have NONE of these, please come back and talk to us and we will try to find an alternative.

Once this form has been completed and returned we will arrange a New Patient Registration appointment with our Practice Nurse to ensure we have the necessary clinical details to hand as it can take 6-8 weeks for patient notes to arrive from the previous practice.

Confidentiality

blue_folder_lockConfidentiality is the cornerstone of health care and central to the work of everyone working in general practice. All information about patients is treated in the strictest confidence and we comply fully with the Data Protection Act 1988. The practice will ensure that patient confidentiality is maintained at all times by all members of the practice team.

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How Personal Health Information Is Used

Regulations require the practice to be registered with The Information Commissioner's Office under the Data Protection Act 1998.

The Practice follows a strict protocol for information sharing with other health professionals.

Everyone working for the NHS has a legal duty to maintain the highest level of confidentiality about patient information.

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Practice Complaints Procedure

good_ratingsIf you have a complaint or are concerned about the health service treatment you have received from the doctors or any of the staff working in this practice, please let us know. We operate a practice complaints procedure to deal with complaints, which meets the criteria agreed for the Northern Ireland Health & Personal Social Services. It does not cover services provided under a private arrangement between the practice and a patient.

How to complain

We hope that most problems can be sorted out easily and quickly, if possible, at the time they arise and with the person concerned. If your problem cannot be sorted out in this way and you wish to make a complaint, let us know as soon as possible and in writing - ideally, within a matter of days - this will help us to find out what happened more easily.

Although you should make your complaint as soon as possible after the event we can consider complaints made within six months of the date of discovering the problem, provided this is within twelve months of the incident. If it is clearly unreasonable in the circumstances to make a complaint earlier and where it is still possible to investigate the facts of the case we can consider extending this time limit.

Complaints should be addressed to Ms Gael Edwards, Practice Manager. Alternatively, you may contact Ms Edwards by telephone 02891 515298, in order to discuss your concerns. She will explain the complaints procedure to you and will ensure that your concerns are dealt with promptly. It will greatly assist us if you are as specific as possible about your complaint.

What we shall do

We shall acknowledge your complaint, normally within two working days, and aim to have looked into your complaint within ten working days of the date when you raised it with us. We shall then be a position to offer you an explanation, or a meeting with those involved.

In investigating your complaint, we shall aim to

  • find out what happened and what, if anything, went wrong;
  • enable you to discuss the problem with those concerned, if you would like this;
  • ensure you receive an apology, where this is appropriate; and
  • if we identify a problem we will try to make sure it does not happen again.

Complaining on behalf of someone else

Please note that we keep strictly to the rules of medical confidentiality. If you are complaining on behalf of someone else, we have to know that you have their permission.

A note signed by the person concerned and witnessed by the patient will be needed. If this is not possible the complaint should be brought by the next of kin.

We hope that if you have a problem you will make use of our practice complaints procedure. We believe this will provide the best chance of putting right whatever has gone wrong and an opportunity to improve our practice. If you remain unhappy, you can refer your complaint to the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Complaints (the Ombudsman). The Ombudsman will look at your complaint and decide whether he should investigate it.

The NI Ombudsman

Progressive House

33 Wellington Place

BELFAST

BT1 6HN

Telephone: 02890 233821

Email: ombudsman@ni-ombudsman

www.ni-ombudsman.org.uk

 

If you require help or advice in making your complaint you can contact the Health & Social Services Council. Their address and phone are as follows -

Chief Officer
Patient / Client Council
19 Bedford Street
BELFAST
BT2 7EJ.
Telephone No. 02890 321230

 

Complaints made by GPs

GPs are also entitled to complain about a patient if they feel that the patient is being unreasonable or their conduct is causing particular difficulties for the practice. If you are the subject of a complaint we hope however that any concern or misunderstanding can be sorted out by you talking with the GP or member of staff concerned.

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Zero Tolerance to Abuse Policy

The Practice considers threatening behaviour to be either:
Attempt or actual, aggressive threatening physical actions made towards any member of Staff
or
the use of aggressive or abusive language – including raising of the voice, swearing and cursing – which threatens or intimidates any member(s) of Staff.
Any behaviour, verbal or physical, which causes Staff to feel uncomfortable, embarrassed or threatened, is totally unacceptable.

PROCEDURE:
All instances of threatening behavior will be reported to the Practice Manager and entered into an Incident Logbook.


Any instance of physical abuse will be reported to the police, BSO and HSCB
. The offender will be removed immediately from the premises. They will be removed with immediate effect from our patient list.

Any incident of verbal abuse, whether in person or on the telephone, will be reported immediately to the Practice Manager. The Practice Manager will review each incident with a GP Partner and a first warning letter will be sent, stating that should a further incident occur the patient will be removed from the practice list.

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 DNA Policy

Approximately 6% appointments per month are ‘Did Not Attend’ (DNA), i.e. the patient does not turn up for the appointment and does not contact the surgery in advance to cancel/change the appointment. The effect of these are: 

 

  • An increase in the waiting time for appointments
  • Frustration for both staff and patients
  • A potential risk to the health of the patient

   

All DNAs are coded by both the receptionists and doctors and a search is carried out each month to establish the numbers and offenders

 

If a patient fails to attend more than three pre-booked appointments a warning letter will be sent to the patient advising them how to cancel/change their appointment.

 

If a patient fails to attend another appointment a warning letter is sent to the patient advising that if they DNA a further appointment the patient will be removed from the Practice list.

 

If a patient fails to attend another appointment a letter explaining they are to be removed from the Practice list and how to register with another practice.

 

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Chaperone Policy

The practice is committed to providing a safe and comfortable environment for patients and staff.

Patients are encouraged to ask for a chaperone, if required, at the time of booking their appointment.

The chaperone may be a family member or friend. At times a more formal chaperone may be required i.e. a trained member of staff.

The Doctor or Nurse may also require a chaperone be present for certain consultations.

Where a chaperone is not available and felt to be appropriate then a consultation may be deferred by agreement.

A chaperone may be required in the following situations:

  1. INTIMATE EXAMINATIONS – these are examinations of the rectal, genital or breast areas
  2. PATIENTS WITH DISABILITIES
  3. EXAMINATIONS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX – taking into account religious or cultural beliefs
  4. COMMUNICATION DIFFICULTIES – this can include patients with poor English as well as hearing or speech problems, so may be a carer or an interpreter
  5. CHILDREN – children should be accompanied by a responsible adult.

The general principles of the chaperone policy are applicable to all consultations as illustrated for an intimate examination:-

  1. Establish if there is a need and discuss with the patient
  2. Consider the appropriate location e.g. treatment room or surgery
  3. Offer a chaperone, including a family member
  4. If a chaperone is declined, then record this in the clinical records
  5. Obtain verbal consent before proceeding and be prepared to stop at any time requested
  6. Once the chaperone has entered the room, allow the patient privacy to prepare for the examination, unless assistance is required
  7. Explain what is happening at each stage of the examination, the outcome when complete and the proposed management. Avoid personal comments.
  8. Record any relevant issues or concerns

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Over The Counter Medicines Prescribing Policy

We as GPs, have a responsibility to prescribe medicines to our patients that we believe are necessary, we also have a responsibility to the NHS not to misuse our prescribing budget. We also believe that our patients have a responsibility not to waste the NHS's scarce resources.

We are adopting the following principles on the request of the South Eastern LCG - Prescribing and Medicines Management Committee (MMC)

  1. Patients and the public have available an increasing range of sources of advice on medicines use e.g. community pharmacists, NHS helplines, the internet, which can be used to enable self-care with medicines as well as traditionally their GP or nurse.

South Eastern LCG encourages patients and the public's to access advice and purchase such home remedies as they and their family may need.

This will normally include:

  • Treatment of acute pain, such as a headache
  • Management of coughs and colds
  • Reducing body temperature where this is a small increase in temperature
  • Treating one-off constipation and/or diarrhoea
  • Treating minor abrasions or irritated skin
  • Minor allergic responses
  • Occurrences of head-lice infestation
  • Treatment of bouts of dyspepsia resulting from over-indulgence
    1. Patients are expected, where possible to try to alter their life-style if it is probable that this is the cause of a minor health problem, e.g. dyspepsia
    2. An increasing range of medicines is available for purchase Over The Counter and patients should be encouraged to purchase such medicines after seeking appropriate advice e.g. from a pharmacist, nurse or doctor. This is particularly the case in self-limiting illnesses such as those described above.

The Minor Ailments Scheme from Community Pharmacists is available for treatment of specified conditions and this may be an opportunity to encourage patients to seek advice from a pharmacist as their first port of call. Treatments for the following conditions are included in the Minor Ailments Scheme in NI:

  • Vaginal Thrush
  • Head lice
  • Athletes Foot
  • Cold Sores
  • Oral Thrush
  • Diarrhoea
  • Threadworms
  • Groin Itch
  • Removal of Ear Wax
  • Mouth Ulcers and Inflammation

 



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