Email can be a very useful and convenient way to communicate. However please bear in mind the following:
Email must not be regarded as confidential. NHS emails are securely encrypted but once the message leaves the nhs.net domain its security cannot be guaranteed. You may also wish to avoid storing emails about your health which could be ‘hacked’ into at a later stage. Please also do not include any practice email address in any circulars or mass greetings..
We will not pass on your email address to any third parties without your permission, other than to any specialist to whom we have referred you for medical care.
Email lacks many of the cues of normal consultations (such as body language, tone of voice etc.) and so runs a risk of misunderstandings. It may be suitable for simple factual exchanges or to send a scanned report from another practitioner, but email is not suitable for making a diagnosis or discussing emotive problems. Please keep to one topic per email to ensure an issue is not glossed over.
Email may not be read for a couple of days and so is usually not suitable for urgent problems- it is better to telephone, even if you wish to send useful background information by email.
Sometimes email does not reach the recipient because of errors, spam filters or because the recipient is on holiday. Please do not rely on email as the only method of communication, and if you get no response within three working days please try again and/or use another method of communication.
The practice e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Email should not be used for trivial matters which you would not normally regard as significant enough to contact the practice. Email is in addition to all the other work done by the practice: we do not offer fewer appointments just because we receive lots of emails. There can be a temptation to take short cuts by using email to ask for broad advice when it would be much better to have a proper consultation and only need to ask about what is relevant to you. Similarly please do not ask us about medical matters relating to other people or to answer something you could easily find out from a general source (e.g. website), your pharmacist or any other professional you are already dealing with (e.g. college nurse, physiotherapist, dentist etc.).
Your emails (including attachments) and our replies may be ‘copied and pasted’ into your medical records or entered as a brief summary of what was written, at the discretion of the GP. A brief reply such as “understood” or “thanks” may not be copied into your records. Emails may also be stored on a computer in the practice, for a variable length of time, separately from the clinical system.
Agreement with this policy
If you email the practice and/or ask for a response by email it will be assumed that you have read and understood this policy. If you subsequently do not wish to be contacted by email please tell us.