Introduction from the medical editor

Dr Beverley Ward

One of the reasons practice managers say they enjoy their jobs is because of the hugely varied nature of their work. Unfortunately, this means that you need to have extensive knowledge of a wide range of subjects both related to your role in helping care for patients, and also in your role as employers.

A common theme in the queries we receive from practice managers relates to requests for access to records or information about patients. This can be a complex area, and so we always encourage you to contact us whenever there is doubt about how to proceed.

In this issue, medico-legal adviser Dr Shelagh Turvill explains how to deal with requests by patients to access their own records, as well as factors to consider when a request is made to access the records of a deceased patient. Dr Turvill outlines the limitations, timescales, charges and extent of disclosure of the records.

Another medico-legal adviser, Dr Kathryn Leask, describes a common scenario, when the police approach a practice asking for patient records. Find out about the advice we gave and the learning points for this scenario.

As part of your knowledge on a wide range of subjects, practice managers need to know about employment law, which can often be a complex area. Test your knowledge with a quiz, written by Nicola Mullineux from Peninsula Business Services, as well as a helpful dilemma about dealing with sickness absence relating to stress.

For doctors, treating work colleagues is generally discouraged, for sensible reasons, as lines can become blurred. Dr Sally Old explains the issues and pitfalls to avoid.

I hope you enjoy reading this edition of inpractice. Of course we always welcome any feedback you might have.

Dr Beverley Ward
Medical editor

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This guidance was correct at publication . It is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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