Whitemoor Medical Centre

Whitemoor Lane
DE56 0JB



Rated 2/5 by 1 person

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5 years ago

According to the NHS Constitution, the first of the principles guiding the NHS is that, “The NHS provides a comprehensive service, available to all.” Whitemoor Medical Centre, Belper, are denying me service on the basis that I won’t permit them to photocopy my passport.

Having stated I have the right to register with a GP, the Citizens’ Advice Bureau make clear “Some GP practices also want to see proof of your identity, like a passport, and proof of your address, like a utility bill.” (https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/healthcare/nhs-healthcare/nhs-patients-rights/#h-right-to-a-gp) I chose a practice close to where I live and they agreed to take me on, so I completed the registration forms and took in my passport and Council Tax bill. It transpired, however, that there was a query about my date of birth. My initial understanding being that I needed to prove when I was born, in which connection I was asked if I had anything else with my date of birth on it, I took in a recent letter from the Pension Service and suggested the Receptionist ring them for confirmation. This she refused to do, telling me they needed something in writing due to their obligation to prevent identity theft. We had moved from me needing to prove my date of birth to needing to demonstrate I wasn’t stealing another’s identity.

I had also been told that the practice had to be sure that records with the different date of birth were mine. On 15th July, I saw the Practice Manager, who assured me they were pretty sure the records are mine as everything else tallies. Therefore, as far as I am concerned I had reasonably fulfilled the requirement to “see proof of your identity.” Indeed, several members of the practice had seen my passport and the Practice Manager confirmed they were satisfied I am who I claim to be. Nevertheless, he told me that if I didn’t agree to them having a photocopy of my passport the practice wouldn’t register me and I should try elsewhere.

His explanation for continuing to require a photocopy of my passport was so that it could go on my records because the central organisation responsible for the NHS database would keep querying the discrepancy between the dates of birth. I pointed out that the database is to be scrapped, which he denied – although recent press coverage suggests otherwise, (e.g. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/07/06/controversial-50-million-nhs-database-scrapped-quietly-on-same-d/) I previously attempted to opt out of this database because of ‘privacy’ concerns and it seems such concerns are a major reason for the NHS to backtrack on their mammoth database. Another problem being inaccuracies in medical records, given the date of birth error, clearly mine are inaccurate.

The information on my passport is my own personal data and private to me. Having fulfilled the requirement to show my passport for identification purposes – and had it acknowledged – I therefore view the insistence on photocopying this document as a breach of Article 12 of the Human Rights Act, which stipulates ”No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy….” The NHS Constitution, Principle 1, makes clear the NHS “has a duty to each and every individual that it serves and must respect their human rights.”

Apart from anything else, I am fast running out of prescribed medications.


Whitemoor Medical Centre responded:

Response from Practice Manager: An issue arose with this patients registration as when we attempted registration the patients date of birth did not match that held at the NHS central patient registry. This is probably because it was input incorrectly at some stage in the past , either at a previous GP surgery or perhaps at a hospital. . (Incidentally the NHS central patient registry is different to the care.data programme). In a previous case where there had been a mismatch of patient details between the central patient registry and the details given to us by a patient on registration we were asked to provide documentary evidence that the detail we were keyed were correct. This created a delay in registration which could have had an impact on both patient safety and best use of NHS resources to resolve the discrepancy. This is why we asked to keep a copy of the passport. I have subsequently checked with NHS England and the BMA about the precise regulations which apply in this situation and, notwithstanding the issues mentioned, we were wrong to advise them that registration could not occur without us retaining a copy of proof of their date of birth. Please will you pass my apologies on to the commentator and advise them that if they still want to register with the practice we would be more than happy to accept them on to our patient list. I would be only too happy to repeat my apology in person to the commentator if they wish to contact me at the surgery

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