Policies and Procedures

Accessible Information Standard

Air Balloon Surgery Accessible Information Standard - Policy and Guidance

The Accessible Information Standard tells organisations how they should make sure that disabled patients receive information in formats that they can understand and receive appropriate support to help them to communicate. All organisations that provide NHS or adult social care must follow the Accessible Information Standard by law. The standard requires us to make sure that people get information in different formats if they need it, such as: large print, braille, easy read, email etc.

Further information can be found on NHS England’s website at:

Please let the surgery know if you have any communication or information support needs.

Communication Questionnaire ABS May 2018


Air Balloon Surgery welcomes all feedback about our services.  We would like to hear from you if you have been particularly pleased with the services you have received from us, or if you feel we could make some improvements. 

Please do not use this form of communications if you have an urgent need. In this case please call us on 0117 9099912

Why not take our friends and family test and let us know us know how we got on. Take the short survey

Please download a feedback form and email it to:

  • Alternatively you can hand it in or post it to Air Balloon Surgery, Kenn Road, St George, Bristol  BS5 7PD


If you have a complaint or concern about the service you have received from the doctors or any of the staff working in this practice, please let us know.  We operate a practice complaints procedure as part of a NHS system for dealing with complaints.  Our complaints system meets national criteria.

How to Complain

We hope that most problems can be sorted out easily and quickly, often at the time they arise and with the person concerned.  If your problem cannot be sorted out in this way and you wish to make a complaint, we would like you to let us know as soon as possible, ideally within a matter of days or at most a few weeks, because this will enable us to establish what happened more easily. 

Under the national procedure you have 12 months in which to raise a complaint, from the occurrence giving rise to the complaint or from the time that you become aware of the matter. The Complaints Manager retains the discretion to investigate complaints brought later than this if there are good reasons for the delay and it is still possible to carry out the investigation.

Complaints should be addressed to the Practice Manager.  It will be a great help if you are as specific as possible about your complaint and put it in writing.

What We Shall Do

We shall acknowledge your complaint within three working days. We will agree how your complaint will be dealt with and keep you informed if the investigation is not running to plan. When we look into your complaint, we shall aim to:

  • Find out what happened and what went wrong and explain this
  • Make it possible for you to discuss the problem with those concerned, if you would like this
  • Make sure you receive an apology, where this is appropriate
  • Identify what we can do to make sure the problem doesn’t happen again.

Complaints About The Out of Hours Doctor Service

Out of hours services are provided by Brisdoc and complaints can be dealt with through us or directly with them. If you wish to contact them directly you can either call them on 0117 9370908 or e-mail

Complaining on behalf of someone else

Please note that we keep strictly to the rules of medical confidentiality.  If you are complaining on behalf of someone else, we have to know that you have their permission to do so.  A note signed by the person concerned will be needed, unless they are incapable (for example because of illness) of providing this.

Getting Help With Your Complaint

If you would find it helpful to speak to someone independent of the
Practice for support and advice in pursuing issues with us, you can contact the following free service:

SEAP (Support Empower Advocate Promote)
Tel: 0300 3435704


Complaining to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

We hope that, if you have a problem, you will use our practice complaints procedure.  We believe this will give us the best chance of putting right whatever has gone wrong and an opportunity to improve our practice.  This does not affect your right to approach the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman if you feel you cannot resolve your complaint with us. If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of our investigation, you have 60 days in which to ask for an Independent Review. 
You can do this by phoning or writing to:
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Millbank Tower
Tel: 0345 015 4033

Your information and how it is used

We are obligated to advise you about the ways your data and medical information is being stored and used, both by Air Balloon Surgery, and by other health and social care schemes and organisations.

Please read our Privacy Statement  We ask for information about you only so you can receive the best possible care and treatment - please read the NHS information about your NHS Health record if you have any questions about this.

Patient records are kept electronically on our practice systems. As the data controller of patients' personal confidential data, GP practices have a duty to protect the data they hold.  Read more about how we handle your information, including using data for audit and research.

Everyone working in the NHS has a legal duty to maintain the highest level of confidentiality about patient information.  We only pass information concerning you to people who have a genuine need for it.  Whenever we can we shall remove details that identify you as an individual.

Data-sharing initiatives

There are a number of data-sharing initiatives which potentially mean your GP medical records are available to other organisations.  These are described below together with methods for opting-out if you do not want to share your personal data in these ways. 

All these systems are based upon the national Personal Demographics Service database (PDS).   This is the national electronic database of NHS patient demographic details such as name, address, date of birth and NHS Number.  The PDS enables a patient to be readily identified by the NHS quickly and accurately; it does not hold any clinical or sensitive data.

You cannot opt-out of your information being held on the PDS database however in special circumstances there is a process for flagging a record as ‘sensitive’ which means that healthcare professionals will only be able to see NHS Number, name, date of birth and gender - no other demographic details will be displayed.  If you require your record flagging, or for this flag to be removed, contact us and we will liaise with the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) to action this as appropriate.  This can be useful, e.g. for victims of domestic violence or people in a witness protection program, however flagging your record is not an action to be undertaken lightly - your demographic information will still be held nationally and having your details unavailable locally will have an impact on your GP being able to make referrals for you to hospital consultants or to other NHS services. 

1. Summary Care Record (SCR)

A NATIONAL system that takes information from patient's GP record and makes it available to clinicians anywhere in the country.

The core SCR record is limited to Medication and Allergies however patients who are frail or have complex health needs may wish to provide consent for additional SCR data release, which adds additional information and supporting free text onto their core Summary Care Record, including significant medical history, reason for medication and end of life care information - please discuss with your GP if you would like this consent recorded on your record.

If you have registered for Online Services with a minimum of Core record access, you will be able to check what is accessible on your core SCR record.

An information letter and opt-out form for SCR was posted to patients in August 2013.  If you have not previously received the opt-out form, this can be obtained from the NHS Health Records webpage.  If you do not want your data available within the SCR, you will need to complete the opt-out form and return it to the Practice to action.  You can complete this form on behalf of another patient.   Forms completed on behalf of children under the age of 16 will be reviewed by the GP who may wish to discuss the decision further with you and who ultimately may over-ride a parent/carer’s wishes if the decision is deemed to be not in the child's best interests.


A NATIONAL system that was scheduled to take identifiable patient information into a secure central system at the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC - now known as NHS Digital) for central planning and research starting March 2014.   Information about was delivered to households in January 2014 via the “Better information means better care” leaflet but the programme was  declared closed in July 2016 due to public concern.   A new system to support National Data opt-out is now being developed by NHS Digital and should be available from 25/5/18.  

Read more about NHS Digital's role in health and care information

3. Connecting Care

A LOCAL system that makes the summary information from a patient’s record available to hospitals and Out of Hours services in the BNSSG area (Bristol, North Somerset & South Gloucestershire, or Bristol and Weston area).

Information about this system was included on the reverse of the August 2013 SCR letter.  You can obtain more information by visiting the Connecting Care website which includes a link to the opt-out form you will need to complete if you do not want your data available within the Connecting Care record.  This form must be returned to Connecting Care to action, NOT to us.  You can complete this form on behalf of another patient.

4. EMIS data-sharing agreements

The IT system we use for your medical records is EMISWeb.  This is a hosted system, which means your data is held on the EMIS servers in Leeds and is accessed by us via N3, a secure broadband network which is only accessible to the NHS.  If signed EMIS data-sharing agreements are in place, other NHS organisations can also view this patient data over their N3 connection and/or the practice can view your data held on another organisation's EMISWeb system.

You can now see which organisations have viewed your shared record in the last 12 months via Online Services - a link in the brown menu bar at the bottom once you have logged in, takes you to "GP Shared Record History" (note this is only available to patients who have access to either their medical record or repeat prescribing).

The practice currently has agreements to share patient data with:

a) Bristol Community Health (the organisation that employs District Nurses amongst other staff)

On 2nd July 2015,  Bristol Community Health moved to using EMISWeb, having migrated from another computer system called RIO.  District Nurses working with patients from this practice previously accessed patient records on our EMIS system.  A data-sharing agreement is now in place so that we can each see data recorded for our patients on each other's EMIS system.

b) One Care (a GP-led organisation that represents practices in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire)

Data-sharing with the One Care consortium has been in place since 2015.  This allows your medical record to be available to staff from One Care who are treating you, such as in the GP Out of Hours service, and to book patients into Improved Access appointments at another GP practice.

Before anyone can view your EMIS shared record they must have a legitimate relationship with you.  Access to shared records is recorded and your consent should be obtained by the person accessing your medical record.

If you do not want your EMIS data to be shared in this way, let the practice or any other organisation using EMIS know – a flag can be set in any of your EMIS records which will stop all sharing from taking place.

The practice is also signed up to share data with local NHS commissioning organisations via EMIS Search & Report.  This involves sharing the results of specific searches set up to identify the numbers of patients meeting the search criteria - patient-identifiable data is not shared.

5. National Audit data extractions

This practice participates in:

a) the National Diabetes Audit - see information leaflet (2 page pdf)

An annual extraction of data using your NHS number and date of birth to link information from your GP record and hospital records to assess diabetes care.  If you do not want information taken from your GP records for this audit, please let us know - we will need to add a code to your record to ensure your data is not extracted. 

Questions or concerns

Should you have any questions or concerns about how your information is handled, please contact the surgery. Alternatively, you can contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service for your area:

  • Bristol: 0117 9003433
  • South Gloucestershire: 0800 0730907

Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 provides public access to information held by public authorities. Public authorities are obliged to publish certain information about their activities, and members of the public are entitled to request information from public authorities.

Air Balloon Surgery complies with the requirement under The Freedom of Information Act 2000  to adopt and maintain a scheme which makes information they hold available on request. For more information please contact the surgery.