Park & St Francis Surgery uses a data processing company called DocMail to handle some mailings to patients. Typically this is for bulk mailings such as the invitations to attend the flu clinics where it is difficult to accommodate the administrative work involved without affecting our ability to serve patients. This is permissible under guidance from both the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the Department of Health (DoH) subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act.
Please find below some more information about DocMail and how we work with them to ensure that we protect our patients’ personal data at all times.
DocMail is provided by CFH Total Document management Ltd a secure print and mailing company who provide print and mailing services for Local Government, GPs, Dentists, Medical practices, Schools, Exam Boards and Banks etc. throughout the UK.
The system can be found online at the Docmail website and requires a secure user name and password for us to log on and upload our letters and address lists to create the printed output for despatch to Royal Mail. The system allows us to upload a letter template and mailing data for the patients we want to write to via a secure web portal.
Park & St Francis Surgery Healthcare Practice and DocMail are both fully compliant with the Data Protection Act.
The Information Commissioners Office issued guidance in February 2012 for organisations that outsource some of its data processing to a third party. The Data Protection Act allows outsourcing to take place but stipulates certain conditions that must be met for it to be compliant.
An organisation that processes personal data is required to handle personal data in accordance with the data protection principles. A data controller may choose to use another organisation to process personal data on its behalf – a data processor.
The data controller remains responsible for ensuring its processing complies with the DPA, whether it processes in-house or engages a data processor.
Where a data processor is used the data controller must ensure that suitable security arrangements are in place in order to comply with the seventh data protection principle.
Further extracts from the guidance are reproduced below and the entire document is available on the ICO website.
Park & St Francis Surgery Healthcare Practice has strictly adhered to this guidance in setting up the partnership with DocMail.
DocMail has achieved a 100% rating in the Department of Health's Information Governance Toolkit Assessment for 2011-2012 and we meet with the terms and conditions of the DH Information Governance Assurance Statement.
DocMail is also approved by the following:
In addition to the credentials listed above, we have been supplied with DocMail’s Corporate Policies and certifications as detailed below:
We have permission from DocMail to allow any patient of Park & St Francis Surgery Healthcare Practice to view them on request. Please ask at reception if you wish to do this.
The data file provided to DocMail will only contain enough data to enable them to fulfil the contract. This means that it will include name and address details and, where appropriate, the date and time of an appointment as well as the name of the clinician you will be seeing or the name of a clinic you will be attending eg Flu Clinic or NHS Health Check. We will of course exercise the same discretion in writing the letters as we would if we were printing and posting them at the surgery.
The letters will be delivered to your address by Royal Mail in the normal way. The letters will carry the DocMail logo and the return address on the reverse side. This address does not identify the letter as having come from a doctor’s surgery.
DocMail delete the personal data 28 days after the mailing.
If you have any questions or require further information about this please ask to speak to the Practice Manager.
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