Care Quality Commission
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) makes sure hospitals, care homes, dental and GP surgeries, and all other care services in England provide people with safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality care, and encourages them to make improvements where possible.
They do this by inspecting services and publishing the results on their website: www.cqc.org.uk
You can use the results to help you make better decisions about the care you, or someone you care for, receives.
Our CQC Inspection
Our practice is inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to ensure we are meeting essential standards of quality and safety.
This widget provides a summary of the results of the latest checks carried out by the CQC.
The surgery prides itself in maintaining professional standards. For certain examinations during consultations, an impartial observer (a “chaperone”) may be requested.
This impartial observer will be familiar with the procedure and be available to reassure and raise any concerns on your behalf. If unavailable at the time of your consultation then your examination may be re-scheduled for another time.
You are free to decline any examination or chose an alternative examiner or chaperone. You may also request a chaperone for any examination or consultation if one is not offered to you. The GP may not undertake an examination if a chaperone is declined.
The role of a chaperone:
- Maintains professional boundaries during intimate examinations.
- Acknowledges a patient’s vulnerability.
- Provides emotional comfort and reassurance.
- Assists in the examination.
- Assists with undressing patients, if required.
The practice complies with the Data Protection Act. All information about patients is confidential: from the most sensitive diagnosis, to the fact of having visited the surgery or being registered at the practice. All patients can expect that their personal information will not be disclosed without their permission except in the most exceptional of circumstances, when somebody is at grave risk of serious harm.
All members of the primary health care team (from reception to doctors) in the course of their duties will have access to your medical records. They all adhere to the highest standards of maintaining confidentiality.
As our reception area is a little public, if you wish to discuss something of a confidential nature please mention it to one of the receptionists who will make arrangements for you to have the necessary privacy.
The duty of confidentiality owed to a person under 16 is as great as the duty owed to any other person. Young people aged under 16 years can choose to see health professionals, without informing their parents or carers. If a GP considers that the young person is competent to make decisions about their health, then the GP can give advice, prescribe and treat the young person without seeking further consent.
However, in terms of good practice, health professionals will encourage young people to discuss issues with a parent or carer. As with older people, sometimes the law requires us to report information to appropriate authorities in order to protect young people or members of the public.
Some consulting rooms are on the first floor. GPs can see patients on the ground floor, if required. Please inform reception, on arrival, if you have a disability and require assistance.
Unfortunately there is no parking for patients at Church Street Surgery. You can safely drop people off in Church Street.
Frail or disabled patients may be dropped right by the surgery door but please do not park or wait in the courtyard.
Please view our maps on the contact us page for local nearby car parks. These can be found in Baldock Street and the library car park in Ware High Street.
At Castlegate Surgery there is one parking bay available for disabled patients only.
Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information Act creates a right of access to recorded information and obliges a public authority to:
- Have a publication scheme in place
- Allow public access to information held by public authorities.
The Act covers any recorded organisational information such as reports, policies or strategies, that is held by a public authority in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and by UK-wide public authorities based in Scotland, however it does not cover personal information such as patient records which are covered by the Data Protection Act.
Public authorities include government departments, local authorities, the NHS, state schools and police forces.
The Act is enforced by the Information Commissioner who regulates both the Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act.
The publication scheme
A publication scheme requires an authority to make information available to the public as part of its normal business activities. The scheme lists information under seven broad classes, which are:
- who we are and what we do
- what we spend and how we spend it
- what our priorities are and how we are doing it
- how we make decisions
- our policies and procedures
- lists and registers
- the services we offer
You can request our publication scheme leaflet at the surgery.
Who can request information?
Under the Act, any individual, anywhere in the world, is able to make a request to a practice for information. An applicant is entitled to be informed in writing, by the practice, whether the practice holds information of the description specified in the request and if that is the case, have the information communicated to him. An individual can request information, regardless of whether he/she is the subject of the information or affected by its use.
How should requests be made?
- be made in writing (this can be electronically e.g. email/fax)
- state the name of the applicant and an address for correspondence
- describe the information requested.
What cannot be requested?
Personal data about staff and patients covered under Data Protection Act.
For more information see these websites:
All GP practices are required to declare the mean earnings (e.g. average pay) for GPs working to deliver NHS services to patients at each practice.
The average pay, before tax and National Insurance, for GPs working in New River Health in the last financial year was £80,234.
The number of full time GPs that this relates to is 2.
The number of part time GPs that this relates to is 11.
The number of locum GPs working in the practice for over six months, that this relates to is 3.
Infection Control Statement
We aim to keep our surgery clean and tidy and offer a safe environment to our patients and staff. We are proud of our practice and endeavour to keep it clean and well maintained at all times.
If you have any concerns about cleanliness or infection control, please report these to our reception staff.
Our GPs and nursing staff follow our infection control policy to ensure the care we deliver and the equipment we use is safe.
We take additional measures to ensure we maintain the highest standards:
- Encourage staff and patients to raise any issues or report any incidents relating to cleanliness and infection control. We can discuss these and identify improvements we can make to avoid any future problems.
- Carry out an annual infection control audit to make sure our infection control procedures are working.
- Provide annual staff updates and training on cleanliness and infection control.
- Review our policies and procedures to make sure they are adequate and meet national guidance.
- Maintain the premises and equipment to a high standard within the available. financial resources and ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to reduce or remove all infection risk.
- Use washable or disposable materials for items such as couch rolls, modesty curtains, floor coverings, towels etc., and ensure that these are laundered, cleaned or changed frequently to minimise risk of infection.
- Make alcohol hand rub gel available throughout the building.
We have allocated a named accountable GP for all of our registered patients. If you do not know who your named GP is, please ask a member of our reception team.
Unfortunately, we are unable to notify patients in writing of any changes of GP due to the costs involved.
What is non-NHS work and why is there a fee?
The National Health Service provides most health care to most people free of charge, but there are exceptions: prescription charges have existed since 1951 and there are a number of other services for which fees are charged.
Sometimes the charge is because the service is not covered by the NHS, for example, providing copies of health records or producing medical reports for insurance companies, solicitors or employers.
The Government’s contract with GPs covers medical services to NHS patients but not non-NHS work. It is important to understand that many GPs are not employed by the NHS; they are self-employed and they have to cover their costs – staff, buildings, heating, lighting, etc. – in the same way as any small business.
In recent years, however, more and more organisations have been involving doctors in a whole range of non-medical work. Sometimes the only reason that GPs are asked is because they are in a position of trust in the community, or because an insurance company or employer wants to ensure that information provided to them is true and accurate.
Examples of non-NHS services for which GPs can charge their own NHS patients are:
- accident/sickness certificates for insurance purposes
- school fee and holiday insurance certificates
- reports for health clubs to certify that patients are fit to exercise
- private prescriptions for travel purposes
Examples of non-NHS services for which GPs can charge other institutions are:
- life assurance and income protection reports for insurance companies
- reports for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in connection with
- disability living allowance and attendance allowance
- medical reports for local authorities in connection with adoption and fostering
- copies of records for solicitors
Do GPs have to do non-NHS work for their patients?
With certain limited exceptions, for example a GP confirming that one of their patients is not fit for jury service, GPs do not have to carry out non-NHS work on behalf of their patients. Whilst GPs will always attempt to assist their patients with the completion of forms, they are not required to do such non-NHS work.
Is it true that the BMA sets fees for non-NHS work?
The British Medical Association (BMA) suggest fees that GPs may charge their patients for non-NHS work (i.e. work not covered under their contract with the NHS) in order to help GPs set their own professional fees. However, the fees suggested by them are intended for guidance only; they are not recommendations and a doctor is not obliged to charge the rates they suggest.
Why does it sometimes take my GP a long time to complete my form?
Time spent completing forms and preparing reports takes the GP away from the medical care of his or her patients. Most GPs have a very heavy workload and paperwork takes up an increasing amount of their time. Our GPs do non-NHS work out of NHS time at evenings or weekends so that NHS patient care does suffer.
I only need the doctor’s signature – what is the problem?
When a doctor signs a certificate or completes a report, it is a condition of remaining on the Medical Register that they only sign what they know to be true. In order to complete even the simplest of forms, therefore, the doctor might have to check the patient’s ENTIRE medical record. Carelessness or an inaccurate report can have serious consequences for the doctor with the General Medical Council (the doctors’ regulatory body) or even the Police.
If you are a new patient we may not have your medical records so the doctor must wait for these before completing the form.
What will I be charged?
It is recommended that GPs tell patients in advance if they will be charged, and what the fee will be. It is up to individual doctors to decide how much they will charge. Please contact reception for our list of Private Fees.
What can I do to help?
- Not all documents need a signature by a doctor, for example passport applications. You can ask another person in a position of trust to sign such documents free of charge. Read the information that comes with these types of forms carefully before requesting your GP to complete them.
- Do not expect your GP to process forms overnight: urgent requests may mean that a doctor has to make special arrangements to process the form quickly, and this may cost more. Usually non-NHS work will take 2 weeks.
Privacy Notices – GDPR
We understand how important it is to keep your personal information safe and secure and we take this very seriously. We have taken steps to make sure your personal information is looked after in the best possible way and we review this regularly.
Please read our Privacy Notices carefully, as they contain important information about how we use the personal and healthcare information we collect on your behalf.
New River Health
Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and your information
The ICO recognises the unprecedented challenges the NHS and other health professionals are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ICO also recognise that ‘Public bodies may require additional collection and sharing of personal data to protect against serious threats to public health.’
The Government have also taken action in respect of this and on 20th March 2020 the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care issued a notice under Regulation 3(4) of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 requiring organisations such as GP Practices to use your information to help GP Practices and other healthcare organisations to respond to and deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please note that this notice has now been revised and extended by a further notice from 29th July 2020 until 31st March 2021. In order to look after your healthcare needs during this difficult time, we may urgently need to share your personal information, including medical records, with clinical and non clinical staff who belong to organisations that are permitted to use your information and need to use it to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. This could (amongst other measures) consist of either treating you or a member of your family and enable us and other healthcare organisations to monitor the disease, assess risk and manage the spread of the disease. Additionally, the use of your information is now required to support NHS Test and Trace. Please be assured that we will only share information and health data that is necessary to meet yours and public healthcare needs.
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has also stated that these measures are temporary and will expire on 31st March 2021 unless a further extension is required. Any further extension will be will be provided in writing and we will communicate the same to you. Please also note that the data protection and electronic communication laws do not stop us from sending public health messages to you, either by phone, text or email as these messages are not direct marketing. It may also be necessary, where the latest technology allows us to do so, to use your information and health data to facilitate digital consultations and diagnoses and we will always do this with your security in mind.
If you are concerned about how your information is being used, please contact our DPO using the contact details provided in our Privacy Notice.
Statement of Intent
New contractual requirements came into force from 1 April 2014 requiring that GP Practices should make available a statement of intent in relation to the following IT developments:
- Summary Care Record (SCR)
- GP to GP Record Transfers
- Patient Online Access to Their GP Record
- Data for commissioning and other secondary care purposes
The same contractual obligations require that we have a statement of intent regarding these developments in place and publicised by 30 September 2014.
Please find below details of the practices stance with regards to these points.
Summary Care Record (SCR)
NHS England require practices to enable successful automated uploads of any changes to patient’s summary information, at least on a daily basis, to the summary care record (SCR) or have published plans in place to achieve this by 31st of March 2015.
Having your Summary Care Record (SCR) available will help anyone treating you without your full medical record. They will have access to information about any medication you may be taking and any drugs that you have a recorded allergy or sensitivity to.
Of course, if you do not want your medical records to be available in this way then you will need to let us know so that we can update your record. You can do this via the opt out form.
The practice confirms that your SCR is automatically updated on at least a daily basis to ensure that your information is as up to date as it can possibly be.
GP to GP Record Transfers
NHS England require practices to utilise the GP2GP facility for the transfer of patient records between practices, when a patient registers or de-registers (not for temporary registration).
It is very important that you are registered with a doctor at all times. If you leave your GP and register with a new GP, your medical records will be removed from your previous doctor and forwarded on to your new GP via NHS England. It can take your paper records up to two weeks to reach your new surgery.
With GP to GP record transfers your electronic record is transferred to your new practice much sooner.
The practice confirms that GP to GP transfers are already active and we send and receive patient records via this system.
Patient Online Access to Their GP Record
NHS England require practices to promote and offer the facility to enable patients online access to appointments, prescriptions, allergies and adverse reactions or have published plans in place to achieve this by 31st of March 2015.
We currently offer the facility for booking and cancelling appointments and also for ordering your repeat prescriptions and viewing a summary of your medical records online. If you do not already have a user name and password for this system – please register your interest with our reception staff.
Data for commissioning and other secondary care purposes
It is already a requirement of the Health and Social Care Act that practices must meet the reasonable data requirements of commissioners and other health and social care organisations through appropriate and safe data sharing for secondary uses, as specified in the technical specification for care data.
The practice confirm these arrangements are in place and that we undertake annual training and audits to ensure that all our data is handled correctly and safely via the Information Governance Toolkit.
Suggestions, Comments and Complaints
We make every effort to give the best service possible to everyone who attends our practice.
However, we are aware that things can go wrong resulting in a patient feeling that they have a genuine cause for complaint. If this is so, we would wish for the matter to be settled as quickly, and as amicably, as possible.
If you have a complaint or concern about the service you have received from the doctors or any of the personnel working in this practice, please let us know. We operate a practice complaint procedure as part of an NHS complaints system, which meets or exceeds national criteria.
How to Complain
We hope that we can sort most problems out easily and quickly, often at the time they arise and with the person concerned. If you wish to make a formal complaint, please do so as soon as possible – ideally within a matter of a few days. This will enable us to establish what happened more easily. If doing that is not possible your complaint should be submitted within 12 months of the incident that caused the problem; or within 12 months of discovering that you have a problem. You should address your complaint in writing to the Practice Manager (you can use the attached form). He/she will make sure that we deal with your concerns promptly and in the correct way. You should be as specific and concise as possible.
Complaining on Behalf of Someone Else
We keep strictly to the rules of medical confidentiality (a separate leaflet giving more detail on confidentiality is available on request). If you are not the patient, but are complaining on their behalf, you must have their permission to do so. An authority signed by the person concerned will be needed, unless they are incapable (because of illness or infirmity) of providing this. A Third Party Consent Form is provided below.
What We Will Do
We will acknowledge your complaint within 3 working days and aim to have fully investigated within 10 working days of the date it was received. If we expect it to take longer we will explain the reason for the delay and tell you when we expect to finish. When we look into your complaint, we will investigate the circumstances; make it possible for you to discuss the problem with those concerned; make sure you receive an apology if this is appropriate, and take steps to make sure any problem does not arise again.
You will receive a final letter setting out the result of any practice investigations
Taking it Further
If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome you may refer the matter to Hertfordshire and West Essex ICB.
Write to us at:
Hertfordshire and West Essex ICB Patient Experience Team, First Floor, Kao Park 2, London Road, Harlow CM17 9NA
Full details of the changes can be found on the ICB website.
For more information, please download the Complaints Leaflet.
Summary Care Record
About your Summary Care Record
Your Summary Care Record contains important information about any medicines you are taking, any allergies you suffer from and any bad reactions to medicines that you have previously experienced.
Allowing authorised healthcare staff to have access to this information will improve decision making by doctors and other healthcare professionals and has prevented mistakes being made when patients are being cared for in an emergency or when their GP practice is closed.
Your Summary Care Record also includes your name, address, date of birth and your unique NHS Number to help identify you correctly.
You may want to add other details about your care to your Summary Care Record. This will only happen if both you and your GP agree to do this. You should discuss your wishes with your GP practice.
Healthcare staff will have access to this information, so that they can provide safer care, whenever or wherever you need it, anywhere in England.
Who can see my Summary Care Record?
Healthcare staff who have access to your Summary Care Record:
- need to be directly involved in caring for you
- need to have an NHS Smartcard with a chip and passcode
- will only see the information they need to do their job and
- will have their details recorded every time they look at your record
Healthcare staff will ask for your permission every time they need to look at your Summary Care Record. If they cannot ask you (for example if you are unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate), healthcare staff may look at your record without asking you, because they consider that this is in your best interest.
If they have to do this, this decision will be recorded and checked to ensure that the access was appropriate.
What are my choices?
You can choose to have a Summary Care Record or you can choose to opt out.
If you choose to have a Summary Care Record and are registered with a GP practice, you do not need to do anything as a Summary Care Record is created for you.
If you choose to opt out of having a Summary Care Record and do not want a SCR, you need to let your GP practice know by filling in an opt-out form.
If you are unsure if you have already opted out, you should talk to the staff at the practice. You can change your mind at any time by simply informing your GP practice and either filling in an opt-out form or asking your GP practice to create a Summary Care Record for you.
Children and the Summary Care Record
If you are the parent or guardian of a child under 16, you should make this information available to them and support the child to come to a decision as to whether to have a Summary Care Record or not.
If you believe that your child should opt-out of having a Summary Care Record, we strongly recommend that you discuss this with your child’s GP. This will allow your child’s GP to highlight the consequences of opting-out, prior to you finalising your decision.
Where can I get more information?
For more information about Summary Care Records you can
- talk to the staff at your GP practice
- phone the Health and Social Care Information Centre on 0300 303 5678
Read the Summary Care Record patient information.
Your Rights and Responsibilities
We are committed to giving you the best possible service. This will be achieved by working together. Help us to help you. You have a right to, and the practice will try to ensure that:
- You will be treated with courtesy and respect
- You will be treated as a partner in the care and attention that you receive
- All aspects of your visit will be dealt with in privacy and confidence
- You will be seen by a doctor of your choice subject to availability
- In an emergency, out of normal opening hours, if you telephone the practice you will be given the number to receive assistance, which will require no more than one further call
- You can bring someone with you, however you may be asked to be seen on your own during the consultation
- Repeat prescriptions will normally be available for collection within two working days of your request
- Information about our services on offer will be made available to you by way of posters, notice boards and newsletters
- You have the right to see your medical records or have a copy subject to certain laws.
With these rights come responsibilities and for patients we would respectfully request that you:
- Treat practice staff and doctors with the same consideration and courtesy that you would like yourself. Remember that they are trying to help you
- Please ensure that you order your repeat medication in plenty of time allowing 48 working hours.
- Please ensure that you have a basic first aid kit at home and initiate minor illness and self-care for you and your family.
- Please attend any specialist appointments that have been arranged for you or cancel them if your condition has resolved or you no longer wish to attend
- Please follow up any test or investigations done for you with the person who has requested the investigation
- Attend appointments on time and check in with Reception
- Patients who are more than 10 minutes late for their appointment may not be seen.
- If you are unable to make your appointment or no longer need it, please give the practice adequate notice that you wish to cancel. Appointments are heavily in demand and missed appointments waste time and delay more urgent patients receiving the treatment they need
- An appointment is for one person only. Where another family member needs to be seen or discussed, another appointment should be made
- Patients should make every effort to present at the surgery to ensure the best use of nursing and medical time. Home visits should be medically justifiable and not requested for social convenience
- Please inform us when you move home, change your name or telephone number, so that we can keep our records correct and up to date
- Read the practice leaflets and other information that we give you. They are there to help you use our services. If you do not understand their content please tell us
- Let us have your views. Your ideas and suggestions whether complimentary or critical are important in helping us to provide a first class, safe, friendly service in pleasant surroundings.
The NHS Constitution establishes the principles and values of the NHS in England. For more information see these websites:
The practice fully supports the NHS Zero Tolerance Policy. The aim of this policy is to tackle the increasing problem of violence against staff working in the NHS and ensures that doctors and their staff have a right to care for others without fear of being attacked or abused.
We understand that ill patients do not always act in a reasonable manner and will take this into consideration when trying to deal with a misunderstanding or complaint. We ask you to treat your doctors and their staff courteously and act reasonably.
All incidents will be followed up and you will be sent a single formal warning. Should another incident occur this may impact on doctor and patient relationship and result in your removal from our practice list.
However, aggressive behaviour, be it violent or verbal abusive, will not be tolerated and may result in you being removed from the Practice list and, in extreme cases, the Police will be contacted if an incident is taking place and the patient is posing a threat to staff or other patients.
Removal from the Practice List
A good patient-doctor relationship, based on mutual respect and trust, is the cornerstone of good patient care. The removal of patients from our list is an exceptional and rare event and is a last resort in an impaired patient-practice relationship. When trust has irretrievably broken down, it is in the patient’s interest, just as much as that of The Surgery, that they should find a new practice. An exception to this is on immediate removal on the grounds of violence e.g. when the Police are involved.
Removing other members of the household
In rare cases, however, because of the possible need to visit patients at home it may be necessary to terminate responsibility for other members of the family or the entire household. The prospect of visiting patients where a relative who is no longer a patient of the practice by virtue of their unacceptable behaviour resides, or being regularly confronted by the removed patient, may make it too difficult for the practice to continue to look after the whole family. This is particularly likely where the patient has been removed because of violence or threatening behaviour and keeping the other family members could put doctors or their staff at risk.