Home Menu

GDPR - General Data Protection Regulation 

The GDPR is a regulation that will come into force from 25th May 2018. Its intention is to strengthen data protection for individuals across the European Union. The GDPR strengthens the controls that organisations (data controllers) are required to have in place over the processing of personal data, including pseudonymised data.

The ICO helpdesk is available for all GDPR queries, Tel 0303 123 1113 

Many of the GDPR main concepts and principles are much the same as those in the current Data Protection Act (DPA), so if you are complying properly with the current law then most of your approach to compliance will remain valid under the GDPR and can be the starting point to build from. However, there are new elements and significant enhancements, so you will have to do some things for the first time and some things differently. 

The ICO have issued useful guidance on preparing for GDPR in their 12 steps to take now document.

Many thanks to the GDPR working group in compiling these resources for practices. The group consists of;

  •  Alison Lowerson - Practice Manager, Long Bennington
  • Julie Walsh - Practice Manager, Ruskington Medical Practice
  • Terri Zeferino - Practice Manager, Moulton Medical Centre
  • Debbie Herd, Practice Manger, Munro Medical Centre
  • Nick Turner, Practice Manager, Billinghay

We are by no means experts in GDPR but have pulled together the resources to help other practices.

The ICO helpdesk is available for all GDPR queries, Tel 0303 123 1113 


Step 1 - Awareness

You should make sure that all your practice members are aware that the law is changing & they need to know about GDPR. They need to appreciate the impact this is likely to have and identify areas that could cause compliance problems under the GDPR. 

It will be useful to add GDPR as an item to your practice meeting agenda. 


Staff Presentations

Julie Walsh - Practice Manager at Ruskington Medical Practice has created a presentation for practice staff that you may find useful. A copy may be downloaded here. 

Alison Lowerson, Practice Manager at Long Bennington, has also created a staff presentation that can be downloaded here.

Debbie Herd, Practice Manager at Munro Medical Centre also provided a staff presentation. Click here to download

GDPR Video

An ICO video is also available to watch here

ICO Posters, stickers & e-learning 

Download here  


Download here 


BMA GDPR Guidance


Step 2 - Information you hold

You should document what personal data you hold, where it came from and who you share it with. You may need to organise an information audit across the organisation or within particular areas. The GDPR requires you to maintain records of your processing activities.


Data processing registers

(Pick your favourite!)

Data flow mapping template

GDPR Information Asset Register

An alternative example spreadsheet to complete may be downloaded here

Data Retention Schedule

Example Data Retention Policy


Step 3 - Privacy Notice - Communicating privacy information

You should review your current privacy notices and put a plan in place for making any necessary changes in time for GDPR mplementation.
Under the GDPR there are some additional things you will have to tell people. For example, you will need to explain your lawful basis for processing the data, your data retention periods and that individuals have a right to complain to the ICO if they think there is a problem with the way you are handling their data. The GDPR requires the information to be provided in concise, easy to understand and clear language.


Examples of privacy notices are available to download below; 

Sample Privacy Notice with Examples

Example detailed Privacy Notice - Dr Neil Bhatia 

Example Privacy Notice - Moulton Medical Centre

Example Privacy Leaflet for Patients - Moulton Medical Centre

Example - How we use your information poster

Example GDPR Letter to Staff

Example Privacy Notice for Staff 

Example Privacy Notice for Staff 2 


Step 4 - Individuals' rights

You should check your procedures to ensure they cover all the rights individuals have, including how you would delete personal data or provide data electronically and in a commonly used format.

The GDPR includes the following rights for individuals:

  • the right to be informed;
  • the right of access;
  • the right to rectification;
  • the right to erasure;
  • the right to restrict processing;
  • the right to data portability;
  • the right to object; and
  • the right not to be subject to automated decision-making including profiling.

On the whole, the rights individuals will enjoy under the GDPR are the same as those under the DPA but with some significant enhancements. If you are geared up to give individuals their rights now, then the transition to the GDPR should be relatively easy.

Right to erasure - It is extremely difficult to envisage the circumstances when this right would apply to medical records. The right to erasure applies only in specific circumstances, for example, when the processing is no longer necessary or when the processing has been unlawful. It is extremely unlikely that these circumstances will be relevant in a health context.


Example GDPR Policy


Step 5 - Subject access requests

You should update your policies & procedures on how you will handle requests to take account of the new rules;

  • In most cases you will not be able to charge for complying with a request
  • You will have a month to comply, rather than the current 40 days
  • You can refuse or charge for requests that are manifestly unfounded or excessive
  • If you refuse a request, you must tell the individual why and that they have the right to complain to the supervisory authority and to a judicial remedy. You must do this without undue delay and at the latest, within one month.

Don't forget to update your fees list in your waiting room & on your website. 

If your practice handles a large number of access requests, consider the logistical implications of having to deal with requests more quickly.
You could consider whether it is feasible or desirable to develop systems that allow individuals to access their information easily online.


Subject Access Request Consent Form

SAR Patient Leaflet 


Step 6 - Lawful basis for processing personal data

You should identify the lawful basis for your processing activity in the GDPR, document it and update your privacy notice to explain it.

You will also have to explain your lawful basis for processing personal data in your privacy notice and when you answer a subject access request.

The lawful bases in the GDPR are broadly the same as the conditions for processing in the DPA. It should be possible to review the types of processing activities you carry out and to identify your lawful basis for doing so. You should document your lawful bases in order to help you comply with the GDPR’s ‘accountability’ requirements. 


Step 7 - Consent

You should review how you seek, record and manage consent and whether you need to make any changes. Refresh existing consents now if they don’t meet the GDPR standard. 


You should read the detailed guidance the ICO has published on consent under the GDPR and use the consent checklist to review your practices. 


Step 8 - Children

You should start thinking now about whether you need to put systems in place to verify individuals’ ages and to obtain parental or guardian 
consent for any data processing activity.


Step 9 - Data breaches

You should make sure you have the right procedures in place to detect, report and investigate a personal data breach. Some organisations are already required to notify the ICO (and possibly some other bodies) when they suffer a personal data breach.

The GDPR introduces a duty on all organisations to report certain types of data breach to the ICO, and in some cases, to individuals. You only have to notify the ICO of a breach where it is likely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals – if, for example, it could result in discrimination, damage to reputation, financial loss, loss of confidentiality or any other significant economic or social disadvantage.

A breach must be reported to the ICO no later than 72 hours after the data controller becomes aware of it.


Example Data Breach Register Template

Step 10 - Data Protection by Design and Data Protection Impact Assessments

It has always been good practice to adopt a privacy by design approach and to carry out a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) as part of this. 
However, the GDPR makes privacy by design an express legal requirement, under the term ‘data protection by design and by default’. It 
also makes PIAs – referred to as ‘Data Protection Impact Assessments’ or DPIAs – mandatory in certain circumstances.

A data protection impact assessment (DPIA) is mandatory when practices engage in new data sharing arrangements or where new technologies are being used. A DPIA must include a description of the processing, an assessment of the proportionality of the processing in relation to the purpose, an assessment of the risks posed and how the risk will be mitigated. This assessment must be carried out by the practice.


Data Privacy Impact Assessment Template


Step 11 - Data Protection Officer

You should designate someone to take responsibility for data protection compliance and assess where this role will sit within your organisation’s structure and governance arrangements.  All practices which provide services under an NHS contract are public authorities, therefore it is mandatory that they designate a DPO.

Designation is a decision to be made by the practice. The DPO is expected to monitor compliance, however, responsibility for compliance remains with the data controller and data processor. Large practices and multi-practice groups are likely to have in-house DPOs but smaller practices may prefer to designate external DPOs that could for instance be provided by a Clinical Commissioning Group, Business Services Organisation.

The LMC have been in discussion with NHS England & the CCGs about appointing a central DPO for practices. Discussions are still ongoing, however in the interim most practices seem to be appointing their Caldicott Guardian as DPO.


Dr Paul Cundy's blog on DPO's dispels some of the myths surrounding whether a partner may be a DPO.


Step 12 - International

This will generally not apply to GP practices.

If your organisation operates in more than one EU member state, you should determine your lead data protection supervisory authority and 
document this.


Compliance with GDPR is essential as fines under the GDPR are up to a maximum of 20 million Euro or 4% of turnover.

Related guidance...

Privacy Notice

Lincolnshire LMC ltd. Commerce House, Carlton Boulevard, Outer Circle Road, Lincoln, LN2 4WJ By virtue of our size, the data we hold...

Data Provision Notice (DPN) for GP Data for planning and research (GPDPR)

Data Provision Notice DPN for GP Data for planning and research GPDPR NHS Digital opt out Data Provision Notice (DPN) for GP Data for...

GP Practice and CCG Responsibilities for Data Protection Officers (DPO)

Since April 2018, CCGs have been required to provide IG advice and DPO support to practices. The new GP contract announced that this...

Firearms and SARs

Dear %recipient.firstname%, The ICO has recently written to the BMA regarding Subject Access Requests in relation to firearms...

Step by step guide on visa sponsorship

Step by step guide on visa sponsorship Step by step guide on visa sponsorship Gaining the right to be a UK visa sponsoring practice...

CQC’s review of ‘do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation’ decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CQC’s review of ‘do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation’ decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic DNACPR Please see here for the...

Safeguarding Collaborative Arrangements

Collaborative arrangements The NHS Act obliges NHS bodies to provide advice to statutory bodies in relation to social services,...

LMC Newsletter - Practice in Touch June/July

Included in this newsletter are articles on: EMIS move to Amazon Web Services (AWS) Private Prescriptions New Chest X-Ray Service GP...

Access to medical records for young people

Since the advent of The Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR the LMC has received a number of queries regarding access to medical records...

Eclipse Extraction Process – SystmOne Practices ONLY

MIQUEST, Eclipse Action is Required NOW by S1 practices to enable continuation of your NHS Digital assured Eclipse Clinical Support...