Privacy and Dignity

When we are ill, we want care, rest and comfort in pleasant hospital surroundings and to know that healthcare staff will do all that they can to protect our privacy and dignity. Patients and staff have told us that this is a particular concern of theirs.

Being with other patients of the same gender is an important component of privacy and dignity. This is why we are working with our providers in its aim to provide single-sex accommodation for hospital inpatients. When University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire was built, considerations were made for the provision of single sex accommodation – all wards having separate sex bays and side rooms which include shower and toilet facilities.

Whilst there are no exemptions from the need to provide high standards of privacy and dignity, national guidance recognises that some patients may have a clinical condition which requires immediate access to potentially life-saving treatments, in critical care or A&E for example. At these points in a patient’s journey, access to treatment within appropriate locations is paramount. In these situations, mixing of the sexes can be justified on the basis of providing urgent or personalised care that might otherwise be compromised.

The national Dignity in Care campaign was launched in November 2006 following significant patient and public consultation. The campaign is to stimulate a national debate around dignity in care. It is led by the Government in partnership with many organisations that provide and  commission care and protect the interests of those using care services and their carers. It is about changing the culture of care services and placing a greater emphasis on improving the quality of care and the experiences of the population using the care services which includes the NHS.

Although much of the national Dignity Campaign focuses specifically on issues regarding dignity in older people’s care it has been decided that NHS Coventry will take a different approach and the scope of the local dignity campaign will involve all services providing care to both children and adults.

Statement of commitment to privacy and dignity

We have agreed the plans to eliminate mixed sex accommodation and improve privacy and dignity with all our healthcare providers. These plans are frequently monitored through clinical review meetings and site visits.

Summary Care Records

The Summary Care Record is part of the NHS Care Records Service. Coventry and Rugby GPs have agreed to work with this project as they believe it will mean better, safer care wherever you are treated. At first, your Summary Care Record will contain vital information about allergies, current and historic prescriptions and any previous bad reactions to medicines. It will be available to health professionals treating patients in a variety of settings. There are strict security measures surrounding the Summary Care Records. Staff will only be able to view the information in your Summary Care Record if they are involved in your treatment and have consent from you.

From July 2011 all patients registered with a GP in Coventry and Rugby were sent a letter through the post advising of these important changes to the way in which their health information is managed.

Do I have to have an NHS Summary Care Record? 

No. Summary Care Records are created to provide better, safer care but you do not have to have one. If you are happy to have one, you do not need to do anything; one will be created for you automatically. However, if you choose not to have one, you can opt out by filling in the ‘opt out’ form and sending it to your GP. There is also an ‘opt out’ form in provided in your letter.

Who should I contact if I want to find out more? 

You can call the national NHS Care Records Patient Information Line: 0300 123 3020. You can also find more information at www.nhscarerecords.nhs.uk

How is my confidentiality protected? 

By law, everyone working for or on behalf of the NHS must respect your confidentiality and keep all information about you secure. In every place where you’re treated by the NHS, there are people responsible for protecting your confidentiality. These people are often known as Caldicott Guardians.

The NHS publishes a Care Records Guarantee for England. This says how the NHS Care Records Service will collect, store and allow access to your electronic records, and your options to take part in the service.

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