We have been alerted to bogus ‘phishing’ emails that may be received by registered patients. These emails claim to be from local GP practices and state that access to online GP services has been changed and that patients should log on to their account and update their information.
We would like to remind all local patients to be vigilant and to report any such ‘phishing’ emails and not to click on any links or open any attachments unless they are absolutely certain that the message is genuine. If you do click on any unverified links or attachments you may allow criminals to access your information and/or to corrupt your computer.
Your GP surgery will never send you a message asking you to click on a link to update your details. If in doubt, visit your registered surgery or contact them using trusted contact information.
If you receive an email you should check it for signs that it may not be from the true source it appears to be from.
Check the email address. Is it the same as the email address you usually receive emails from, or just similar?
Check the email subject line. Be suspicious of “There is a secure message waiting for you”, “Security Alert”, “System Upgrade” or similar.
Check the message is personalised with information like your name, your postcode or part of your account number. If it isn’t personalised at all then you should be suspicious. Sometimes the message will contain someone else’s name.
Beware of a prompt to click on a hyperlink or a button, or to download a file – something like “Verify your account or password” or “update your security details”. These will likely take you to a copycat website where you will be prompted to enter your full details.
Be suspicious of any message that creates a sense of urgency, such as “If you don’t respond within 48 hours, your account will be closed”. A legitimate company would never create a false sense of urgency.
Remember, never respond to any suspicious emails and don’t click on any links or attachments within them.
Phishing emails should be reported to: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud
Online Services Records Access
Patient information leaflet ‘It’s your choice’
If you wish to, you can now use the internet to book appointments with a GP, request repeat prescriptions for any medications you take regularly and look at your medical record online. You can also still use the telephone or call in to the surgery for any of these services as well. It’s your choice.
Being able to see your record online might help you to manage your medical conditions. It also means that you can even access it from anywhere in the world should you require medical treatment on holiday. If you decide not to join or wish to withdraw, this is your choice and practice staff will continue to treat you in the same way as before. This decision will not affect the quality of your care.
You will be given login details, so you will need to think of a password which is unique to you. This will ensure that only you are able to access your record – unless you choose to share your details with a family member or carer.
It will be your responsibility to keep your login details and password safe and secure. If you know or suspect that your record has been accessed by someone that you have not agreed should see it, then you should change your password immediately.
If you can’t do this for some reason, we recommend that you contact the practice so that they can remove online access until you are able to reset your password.
If you print out any information from your record, it is also your responsibility to keep this secure. If you are at all worried about keeping printed copies safe, we recommend that you do not make copies at all.
Before you apply for online access to your record, there are some other things to consider.
Although the chances of any of these things happening are very small, you will be asked that you have read and understood the following before you are given login details.
Things to consider
There may be something you have forgotten about in your record that you might find upsetting.
Abnormal results or bad news
If your GP has given you access to test results or letters, you may see something that you find upsetting to you. This may occur before you have spoken to your doctor or while the surgery is closed and you cannot contact them.
Choosing to share your information with someone
It’s up to you whether or not you share your information with others – perhaps family members or carers. It’s your choice, but also your responsibility to keep the information safe and secure.
If you think you may be pressured into revealing details from your patient record to someone else against your will, it is best that you do not register for access at this time.
Your medical record is designed to be used by clinical professionals to ensure that you receive the best possible care. Some of the information within your medical record may be highly technical, written by specialists and not easily understood. If you require further clarification, please contact the surgery for a clearer explanation.
Information about someone else
If you spot something in the record that is not about you or notice any other errors, please log out of the system immediately and contact the practice as soon as possible.
For more information about keeping your healthcare records safe and secure, you will find a helpful leaflet produced by the NHS in conjunction with the British Computer Society:
Keeping your online health and social care records safe and secure http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/thenhs/records/healthrecords/Documents/PatientGuidanceBooklet.pdf
Patient Access Application form
Information correct at October 2017
Review due October 2018