Our practice is mindful that even if patients have provided electronic contact details, they may not be proficient in communicating via email and patient consent needs to be obtained before engaging in electronic communication via email. Communication with patients via email is conducted with appropriate regard to privacy.
Whilst not encouraged, our practice allows patients an opportunity to obtain advice or information related to their care by email, but only where the general practitioner determines that a face-to-face consultation is unnecessary and that communication by email is suitable. Our practice will only provide information that is of a general, non-urgent nature and will not initiate email communication (other than SMS appointment reminders) with patients. Any email communication received from patients is also used as a method to verify the contact details we have recorded on file are correct and up-to-date.
When an email message is sent or received in the course of a person’s duties, that message is a business communication and therefore constitutes an official record. Patients are informed of any costs to be incurred as a result of the electronic advice or information being provided, and all electronic contact with patients is recorded in their health record.
All members of the practice team are made aware of our policy regarding email communication with patients during induction, and are reminded of this policy on an ongoing basis. They are made aware that email communications could be forwarded, intercepted, printed and stored by others. Each member of the practice team holds full accountability for emails sent in their name or held in their mailbox, and they are expected to utilise this communication tool in an acceptable manner. This includes, but is not limited to: