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Privacy Statement

The Student Health Centre (SHC) wants to ensure the highest standard of medical care for our patients and we understand and respect the importance of privacy and confidentiality. Our practice is consistent with Medical Council guidelines and the privacy principles of the Data Protection Acts. We see our patients’ consent as being the key factor in dealing with their health information. This privacy statement is about making consent meaningful by advising you of our policies and practices on dealing with your medical information.

In order to provide for your care we need to collect and keep information about you and your health on our records. 

  • We retain your information securely and use every appropriate physical and technical security measure to prevent unauthorised access, alteration or destruction of data.
  • We will only ask for and keep information that is necessary e.g. name, address, ID number, date of birth, mobile number etc. We will attempt to keep it as accurate and up to-date as possible. We will explain the need for any information we ask for if you are not sure why it is needed.
  • We ask you to inform us about any relevant changes that we should know about. This would include such things as any new treatments or investigations being carried out that we are not aware of. Please also inform us of change of address and phone numbers.
  • All staff in the SHC (not already covered by a professional confidentiality code) sign a confidentiality agreement that explicitly makes clear their duties
in relation to personal health information and the consequences of breaching that duty.

Access to patient records is regulated to ensure that they are used only to the extent necessary to enable
the clinicians or admin team to perform their tasks for
the proper functioning of the SHC.  In this regard patients should understand that SHC staff may have access to their records to ensure safe and efficient care for you. SHC staff will need to access your record to carry out the following functions:

  • Identifying and printing repeat prescriptions for patients. These are then reviewed and signed by the doctor.
  • Generating a sickness certificate for the patient. This is then checked and signed by the doctor.
  • Typing referral letters to hospital consultants or other medical professionals.
  • Opening letters from hospitals and consultants and scanning them into the patient record.
  • Scanning clinical letters, radiology reports and any other documents not available in electronic format.
  • Dealing with patient complaints.
  • Downloading laboratory results and out of hours reports and performing integration of these results into the electronic patient record.
  • Photocopying or printing documents for referral to consultants or when a patient is changing GP.
  • Checking for a patient if a hospital or consultant letter is back or if a laboratory or radiology result is back, in order to schedule a conversation with the doctor.
  • When a patient makes contact with the SHC, checking if they are due for any preventative services, such as contraceptive pill check, sexual health screening, etc.
  • Sending and receiving information via Socrates secure clinical email.
  • Other activities related to the support of medical care appropriate for the SHC support staff.

Students attending the SHC are viewed as adults and we fully respect their right to privacy and confidentiality.

The SHC will not disclose your medical details to parents or relatives without your consent other than in exceptional circumstances such as a medical emergency.  If you wish, you may attend the SHC in person to give your consent for a discussion with your parents, guardians or other relatives to take place.

We may need to pass some information to other health and social care professionals in order to provide you with the treatment and services you need. Only the relevant part of your record will be released. These other professionals are also legally bound to treat your information with the same duty of care and confidentiality that we do.

The law provides that in certain instances personal information (including health information) can be disclosed, for example, in the case of infectious diseases or where there is a risk to you or others.

In general, medical certificates issued by the SHC will only provide confirmation that you are unfit for college, work or examinations. Where it is considered necessary to provide additional information we will discuss that with you.

In the case of disclosures to insurance companies or requests made by solicitors for your records, we will only release the information with your signed consent.

It is usual for patient information to be used for research and audit in order to improve services and standards of practice. Information used for such purposes is done in an anonymised or pseudonymised manner with all personal identifying information removed.

If it were proposed to use your information in a way where it would not be anonymous or the Practice was involved in external research, we would discuss this further with you before we proceeded and seek your written informed consent. Please remember that the quality of the patient service provided can only be maintained and improved by training, teaching, audit and research.

In keeping with the data protection principles, we will only store your data for as long as is necessary for the purposes for which it was submitted and in accordance with the University’s Records Management and Retention Policy. Medical records will normally be retained for a student’s duration of study plus 8 years. Records containing information regarding mental health issues will be retained for 20 years following last contact as per the best practice advised by the HSE. After these periods of time, electronic records will be archived as ‘inactive’ and hard copy paper files will be shredded confidentially.

You have the following rights in relation to the personal data we hold about you:

  • The right to access all the personal information held about you.
  • The right to have your information corrected, restricted to specified individuals or object to it being processed.
  • The right to request your medical records be erased. However, in some cases this may need to be reviewed and brought further for consideration due to legal-medical requirements.

This statement should be read in conjunction with the University’s Student Data Protection Privacy Notice and the SHC’s Confidentiality Policy. Further information on data protection at the University of Limerick may be viewed at www.ul.ie/dataprotection.  You can contact the University’s Data Protection Officer at dataprotection@ul.ie or by writing to Data Protection Officer, room A1-073, University of Limerick, Limerick.

You have a right to lodge a complaint with the Office of Data Protection Commissioner (Supervisory Authority).  While we recommend that you raise any concerns or queries with us first, you may contact that Office at info@dataprotection.ie or by writing to the Data Protection Commissioner, Canal House, Station Road, Portarlington, Co Laois.

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