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Patient Rights and Responsibilities

Patient Rights

Everyone has certain rights covered by the NHS Patient's Charter. You have the right to:

  • receive information on health services, including quality standards and waiting times
  • receive treatment regardless of your race, sex, age, disability or income
  • have your treatment explained to you
  • refuse to be treated in front of students or be involved in medical trials
  • have a relative or friend with you
  • have access to an interpreter or signer
  • emergency medical care

GP Services

You have the right to be registered with a general practitioner (GP). Ask your preferred surgery if you can be registered on their list. GPs can refuse to take you.

A GP can remove you from the practice list at any time and does not have to give a reason. This is rare and usually only happens if a patient has been abusive or violent. Your GP may also remove you from the practice list if you often miss appointments. They will warn you before they do this.

You can get a list of GPs in your area from Lothian Primary Care NHS Trust. If you cannot find a GP who will take you, contact Practitioners Services at the Common Services Agency (CSA).

Second Opinion

You have the right to ask for a second opinion, but you are not automatically entitled to one. You should speak to your doctor if you want a second opinion.

Contraception and Maternity Services Women have the right to free contraceptive advice and maternity care from a GP. You can get free contraceptives from a family-planning clinic.

Confidentiality and Health Records

You have the right to see your health records and for them to be kept confidential. Information should only be given to people involved in your care, and only if you have given your permission. Information is only given without your permission in exceptional circumstances.

Help with Costs

Everyone is entitled to free GP and hospital services. You may be entitled to other financial help depending on your age, income or medical condition. There is more information in the leaflet 'Are you entitled to help with health costs?' which you can get from post offices and social security offices.


You have the right to complain if you are unhappy with the treatment or service you have received. The complaints procedure is detailed below.

Your Responsibilities

You help yourself and your health service staff by doing the following:

  • be on time for your appointments
  • tell the surgery or clinic as soon as possible if you cannot keep an appointment
  • tell your GP, or any hospital you are attending if you move home or change your name or contact details
  • use emergency services responsibly
  • treat healthcare staff politely
  • pass on your comments to healthcare staff
  • take care with medicines.
  • Do not use medicines which are out of date - your pharmacist can safely get rid of these for you.
  • share responsibility for your own health
  • carry an organ donor card

Please Help Us To Help You …

Our telephone lines tend to be busiest first thing in the morning.

For house call and appointment requests it is helpful if you contact us as early as possible.

For non-urgent problems you may find it easier to contact the practice in the late morning or early afternoon.

To help reduce traffic on the main practice telephone lines, please use the Prescription and Result Lines shown in this web site, when appropriate.

Comments and Suggestions

The practice welcomes any comments or suggestions that you may have concerning the way that the practice operates and how we can improve our medical services to you.

Please pass on your views to the Practice Manager by telephone, letter, e-mail or in person. Please include your name, address and telephone numbers (home, work and mobile) so that we can respond and advise you of any changes resulting from your input.

Confidentiality and the Data Protection Act 1998

To provide you with the care you need, we hold the details of your consultations, illnesses, tests, prescriptions and other treatments that have been recorded by everyone involved in your care and treatment e.g. G.P, Health Visitor, Practice Nurse. This information may be stored on paper or electronically on computer files by practice staff.

We sometimes disclose some of your personal health information with other organisations involved in your care. For example, when your GP refers you to a specialist at the hospital we will send relevant details about you in the referral letter and receive information about you from them. Our practice also participates in regional and national programmes such as the cervical cytology screening service and your name and address, date of birth and health number will be given to them in order to send an invitation to you.

We need to use some of your personal health information for administrative purposes. In order to receive payment for services provided to you, we have to disclose basic details about you to the NHS Board responsible for this area and to the Common Services Agency for the Scottish Health Service. These organisations have a role in protecting public funds, and are authorised to check that payments are being properly made. We are required to co-operate with these checks and the disclosure of your data is a necessary part of our provision of healthcare services.

Sometimes, we may participate in studies that are designed to improve the way services are provided to you or to check that our performance meets required standards and benchmarks. Whenever we take part in activities such as these we will ensure that as far as possible any details that may identify you are not disclosed.

We are sometimes involved in health research and the teaching of student nurses, doctors and other health professionals. We will not use or disclose your personal health information for these purposes unless you have been informed beforehand and given your consent for us to do so. 

Where you need a service jointly provided with a local authority we will seek your permission before giving them your details.

Sometimes we are required by law to pass on information e.g. the notification of births and deaths and certain diseases or crimes to the government is a legal requirement.

As part of this Practice's contribution to the study of clinical care, we provide important anonymised information on diseases and treatments for research by third parties including academic, patient and commercial organisations. No identifiable information such as your name and address is provided. This data is combined with similar data from many other practices to give more than 1 million anonymised records. Such information contributes to our understanding of health and health care.

Data Protection

All patient information is held in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998.

This practice is registered under the Data Protection Act, Registration Number: Z6351685

Access to medical records is in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Access to Health Records Act 1990.

If you would like more information or to enquire about access to your own medical records, please contact the Practice Manager.

Complaints Procedure

We always try to give you the best service possible, but there may be times when you feel this has not happened. This section explains what to do if you have a complaint about the service we provide for you.

Our practice procedure is not able to deal with questions of legal liability or compensation. We hope you will use it to allow us to look into and, if possible, put right any problems you have identified or mistakes that have been made.

If you use this procedure it will not affect your right to complain to the Primary Care Division of NHS Lothian Health if you so wish. The appropriate contact address for the NHS Complaints Team and the Ombudsman are shown below. Please note we have to respect our duty of confidentiality to patients and a patient's consent will be necessary if a complaint is not made by that patient in person.


If you wish to make a complaint, in the first instance please phone or write to our Practice Manager who will take full details of your complaint and decide how best to undertake the investigation.

We think it is important to deal with complaints swiftly so you will normally be offered an appointment for a meeting to discuss matters within seven days.

Occasionally, if we have to make a lot of enquiries, it might take a little longer, but we will keep you informed. You may bring a friend or relative to the meeting with you.

We will try to address your concerns fully, provide you with an explanation and discuss any action that may be needed. We hope, that at the end of the meeting, you will feel satisfied that we have dealt with the matter thoroughly. However, if this is not possible and you wish to continue with your complaint, we will direct you to the appropriate authorities who will be able to help you.

Useful Contacts

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, 4 Melville Street, Edinburgh EH3 7NS
Phone: 0870 011 5378 Fax: 0870 011 5379
E-mail: enquiries@scottishombudsman.org.uk

NHS Lothian Complaints, 2nd Floor, Waverley Gate, 2/4 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh,
Phone: 0131 2536 3370
E-mail: complaints.team@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk

Freedom of Information

Click below to read our guide to information available through the Scottish Information Commissioner’s Model Publication Scheme 2014.


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