How do I anonymise my evidence?
Patient and colleague confidentiality
When submitting your evidence, you must remember your responsibilities under Good medical practice. Domain 4 of Good medical practice is about maintaining trust.
You must check every page of the evidence for patient or sensitive data.
What information do I need to anonymise?
- All patient identifying details. This includes:
- names (first and last)
- addresses, including street names and postcodes
- contact details
- NHS/URN numbers
- reference numbers on letters.
- Details of patients’ relatives
- Details of colleagues that you’ve assessed, written a reference for, or who have been involved in a complaint you’ve submitted. This includes:
- names (first and last)
- GMC numbers
- contact details, such as phone numbers or email addresses
- login codes and reference numbers of assessments.
Gender and Date of birth don’t need to be redacted. This information can be useful to the evaluators in assessing the range of patients seen by the applicant.
What areas of my evidence are likely to contain patient data?
- Medical reports/case histories
- Referral letters
- Patient lists
- Meeting minutes
- Thank you letters, emails and cards
What areas of my evidence are likely to contain colleague data?
- Participation in assessment and appraisal of others
We suggest you use a crayon for hard copy evidence instead of a marker pen, as this makes sure information remains anonymised in your documents. If a marker pen has been used, patient data is often visible when we scan your evidence.
For electronic evidence we suggest you use redaction software.
What happens if I fail to anonymise my evidence?
- It’s your responsibility to make sure that your evidence has been anonymised. We accept no responsibility for checking that all of your evidence has been anonymised
- If we become aware of identifiable personal information whilst checking your evidence, the relevant royal college or faculty will be made aware that your original evidence included some personal data
- We won’t anonymise any data on your behalf. If you don’t anonymise your evidence correctly this is likely to cause delays to your application
- If you don’t follow these requirements you may be in breach of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the patient confidentiality standards in Good medical practice. We may refer you to our Fitness to Practise directorate.
Applications submitted before 6 November 2018
If we become aware of identifiable personal information whilst checking your hard copy evidence, we will return it to you, requesting you remove the data. If you submit further evidence which hasn’t been anonymised correctly at the point we’re ready to send your application to the royal college or faculty for evaluation we’ll exclude these documents and return them to you.
Applications submitted on or after 6 November 2018
You’ve applied using our updated application. This means you’ve been able to provide evidence electronically.
If we become aware of identifiable personal information whilst checking your evidence this will be deleted from your application and you’ll be asked to resubmit it once it’s been fully redacted. If you’ve uploaded a single document file which contains multiple pages, we’ll have to delete the whole document even if only one page contains identifiable personal information.
Any hard copy evidence you provide which contains identifiable personal information will be returned to you, requesting you remove the data.
If you submit further evidence which hasn’t been anonymised correctly at the point we’re ready to send your application to the royal college or faculty for evaluation we’ll exclude these documents from your application as stated above.