Privacy Policy

At The Meopham Veterinary Hospital, Sevenoaks, Swanscombe and Tonbridge Surgeries and Pride & Groom, we are committed to protecting and respecting your privacy, and appreciate our responsibility in handling your information when you register with us. By following the Code of Professional Conduct from our professional regulatory body the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and complying with GDPR, we provide high levels of confidentiality.

This policy sets out the basis for how we collect, use and store your personal data, and how it is processed by us. For any further information on this policy or if you have any questions please contact us on enquiries@meophamvets.co.uk or call us on 01474 815333.

Legal bases for processing your data

When registering with the practice, you are entering a contract with the practice to provide healthcare services to your animals. In order to provide these services, we will process your data in order to inform you of any preventative healthcare treatment which is due for your pet.

Processing your data to pursue legitimate interests

These interests include: improvements to veterinary services and practice websites, personalisation of services, updating of contact details, enhancement and improvements to client services and out of hours care, providing reunification/microchip service, marketing of services, client communication and for completion of services requested by clients and customers. We may also use anonymised data for statistical and analytical purposes as well as providing a basis for evidenced based veterinary medicine.

Will your data be given to third parties?

The Meopham Veterinary Hospital, Sevenoaks, Swanscombe and Tonbridge Surgeries and Pride & Groom will only pass on your personal data under these specific circumstances;

  • When obligated by law, for instance in case of a lawful request by law enforcement authorities;
  • Where a third party is engaged to deliver a service on behalf of the practice, or a customer or client and the third parties have a data processing agreement with the practice. This includes its IT and service providers AT Veterinary Systems Limited and Central Veterinary Services Limited.
  • Where a person or persons requests or consents to their personal data being given to a third party.

How we collect your personal information, what information we collect and why

  • Register your details as a client or to update any details that may have changed
  • To make appointments
  • Sending your information to another practice if you move surgeries
  • Sending your information to your pet insurance company to help settle any claim that you have being processed
  • Register your pet on a health plan with the practices
  • To process any fees due for any treatment received, and to contact you with regards to your account or credit status
  • To contact you with regards to any test results and treatment updates on your pet
  • To contact you to obtain consent for treatment of your pet
  • To obtain any missing information from you if you have registered with the practices online
  • Process any orders that have been submitted by you
  • To seek your feedback and views on any of the services we have provided to you
  • Deliver a safe and secure service, ensuring any fraud is detected and prevented
  • To respond to any queries or complaints received from you
  • Disclose information to assist legal or debt recovery processes where required
  • Notify you of changes to our services or opening times
  • Send you information which you have requested, that may be of interest to you
  • To support any information provided on your pet for lab samples sent off
  • For postal services if we need to communicate with you and are unable to contact you otherwise
  • To better understand how people interact with our website in order to enhance your experience
  • Your image and car registration number may be recorded on our CCTV
  • Your phone calls with us will be recorded and stored alongside your telephone number, this is for training & monitoring purposes – please see our call recording policy section for further information.

Where we store your personal data and how long we store this for

Your personal data is stored within our practice management system for the processes of booking appointments, keeping clinical records for your pet and to provide any other service to you. This information is available for the benefit of patient care and transferring any records where necessary.

CCTV is stored for upto 70days, the exact number of days varies by practice and CCTV equipment.

Telephone recordings and phone numbers are stored for 60 days.  To take payments over the phone we are required to transfer you to an unrecorded line so no payment information is recorded or stored.

We are able to download and store CCTV & telephone recordings for longer if deemed necessary.  Please see call recording policy section for further information on this.

We are legally required to hold certain information in order to fulfil our statutory obligations, such as our Pet Health Plan direct debit management company. Other information and data that is no longer required will be deleted, although some data may be archived or kept to meet legislative requirements.

Your data may be transferred to countries outside the European Union (“EU”). This may happen if any of our servers are located in a country outside of the EU, such as laboratories for specific tests. If we transfer your information outside of the EU in this way, we will take steps to ensure that appropriate security measures are taken with the aim of ensuring that your privacy rights continue to be protected as outlined in this Policy. By submitting your personal data, you’re agreeing to this transfer, storing or processing.

Disclosure of your information

The Meopham Veterinary Hospital, Sevenoaks, Swanscombe and Tonbridge Surgeries and Pride & Groom will not sell or rent any of your personal information to third parties for marketing purposes.

We may pass your information to our third-party service providers for the purposes of providing services to you (for example to send you appointment reminders, or to sign your pet on to a Pet Health Plan). When we do use third party service providers, we will only disclose personal information that is absolutely necessary to deliver the service to you, and we have a contract in place that requires them to keep your information secure and not to use it for their own direct marketing purposes. We will not release your information to third parties unless you have requested us to do so, or we are required to do so by law, for example, by a court order or for the purposes of prevention of fraud or other crime.

We cannot be held responsible for the privacy policies held by other sites that link to our website nor any that our website links to. We would recommend that you check the privacy policy for any third party company or organisation.

Your rights

You have the right to ask us not to process your data

You have the right to opt in to certain material you may like to receive from us such as Newsletters. We will only send these materials if you have given consent to receive them.

You have the right to access any data we hold on you. You also have the right to request for this data to be moved to another surgery. We will only do this with your permission.

You have the right to opt out of receiving vaccination reminders for your pet at any time.

You have the right to have your information edited or amended where needed in order to keep your information up to date and relevant.

You have the right to change your consent preferences with regards to the information you receive from us at any time.

You have the right to contact the ICO if you feel that we are in any way mishandling or not protecting your data efficiently.

Changes to our privacy policy

Any changes to our privacy policy will be published on this page. If you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact the surgery enquiries@meophamvets.co.uk

Last updated 16.5.2023

Retention Schedule and destruction of clinical records

The Meopham Veterinary Hospital, Sevenoaks, Swanscombe & Tonbridge Surgeries and Pride & Groom store your data until we receive and approve a request to anonymise it, we do not have an automated archive of data system. All electronic records since March 1998 are available on our practice management system.  These are backed up and stored securely.

After a period of 7 years after the last data entry on your record you have the right to request for your personal details held with us to be anonymised (so that it can no longer be associated with you). Examples of when an individual would be able to request the deletion or removal of his/her personal data are (i) it is no longer necessary to retain the data for the purpose for which it was collected; (ii) the individual withdraws consent on which the processing was based and there are no other legal grounds for storage; (iii) the individual objects to the storage and there are no overriding legitimate grounds for retaining the data; or (iv) the data has been collected unlawfully. The practice does not have to delete the data if it needs to keep it to comply with a legal obligation or to defend a legal claim. The request for this would need to be received in writing by the practice manager and may take 48hours to action.

Paper insurance forms, pet health plan direct debit forms, inpatient and anaesthetic monitoring forms, consent forms, cremation forms, laboratory submission forms, photocopies of pet passports and associated supporting documents are destroyed after 7 years.

Facebook and Instagram data (e.g. comments, likes and posts) are maintained indefinitely by Facebook in accordance with their Data Retention Policy (outwith our control – a Request for Erasure must be directed to Facebook or Instagram as they are the Data Controller of record for this information).

CCTV is stored for up to 70days, the exact number of days varies by practice and CCTV equipment.

Telephone recordings and phone numbers are stored for 60days.

Reviews on our website, comments on our blogs and uploaded photographs will be stored until the practice deems they are no longer required. This may be in line with updates to the website and it’s associated blogs and links.  You have the right to request the information noted above is deleted by requesting this in writing to the practice manager.

Last updated 16.5.23

Call Recording Policy

Call Record Overview and the Purposes of Call Recording

The purpose of call recording is to provide an exact record of the call which can:

  • Help identify our staff training needs and their performance
  • Help protect our staff from abusive customers
  • Establish the facts in the event of a complaint either by a customer or a member of staff and so assist in resolving it
  • Assist in quality control to identify any issues in processes, with a view to improving them
  • A call recording may also be used as evidence in the event that an employee’s telephone conduct is deemed unacceptable.
  • The telephone call recording system in operation will record incoming and outgoing calls and recordings may be used to assist in investigating and to support the investigation of complaints or to see if we need to provide further training and support to our staff.

Communicating call recording system

  • We will make every reasonable effort to communicate that calls will be recorded. This will be done by: Publishing this policy on all 4 of our veterinary websites www.meophamvets.co.uk, www.swanscombevets.co.uk, www.sevenoaksvets.co.uk, www.tonbridgevets.com
  • General notification – internal message sent to all staff to inform that telephone calls will be recorded for training and monitoring purposes.
  • All staff read the privacy policy on induction & sign to say they have understood the contents within
  • Informing all clients in the first instance via a recorded announcement for incoming calls.

Procedures to prevent the recording of sensitive data

The purpose of this section is to advise you of the protocol all staff follow at Meopham Veterinary Hospital, Sevenoaks, Swanscombe & Tonbridge Veterinary Surgeries & Pride & Groomn of our position on taking credit card details from clients and how to keep this details safe and secure.  It is our responsibility to protect credit card data.

Our credit card provider requires us to comply with their Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DDS) compliance programme.  The programme aims to ensure that all merchants accepting card payments do so securely.

For compliance purposes clients wishing to make payments via credit card over the phone will have the call transferred to an unrecorded line.

In the event that this doesn’t happen & a payment is accidentally taken on the recorded line then the member of staff will immediately inform the Practice Manager with the time, date, extension & phone number & the Practice Manager will permanently delete the recording immediately.

Procedures for managing and releasing call recordings

  1. The recordings shall be stored securely, with access to the recordings controlled and managed by the practice manager.
  2. Access to the recordings is only allowed to satisfy a clearly defined business need and reasons for requesting access must be formally authorised only by senior management. All requests for call recordings should include the following:
    1. The valid reason for the request.
    2. Date and time of the call if known
    3. Telephone extension used to make/receive the call.
    4. External number involved if known.
    5. Where possible, the names of all parties to the telephone call.
    6. Any other information on the nature of the call.
  3. The browsing of recordings for no valid reason is not permitted.
  4. The Data Protection Act allows persons access to information that we hold about them. This includes recorded telephone calls. Therefore, the recordings will be stored in such a way to enable the Practice Manager to retrieve information relating to one or more individuals as easily as possible.
  5. Requests for copies of telephone conversations made as Subject Access Requests under the Data Protection Act must be notified in writing to the Practice Manager immediately and, subject to assessment, he/she will request the call recording and arrange for the individual concerned to have access to hear the recording.
  6. In the case of a request from an external body in connection with the detection or prevention of crime e.g. the Police, the request should be forwarded to the Practice Manager who will complete the request for a call recording.
  7. Recordings of calls will be stored electronically in a secure environment. Call recordings will be automatically deleted, in line with the Retention Policy of 60 days.

Last updated 16.5.23

CCTV Policy

CCTV Overview and the Purposes of Having & Using CCTV

The purpose of CCTV is to provide safety and security in the workplace in order to safeguard property, employees and visitors.

CCTV will be used for the following:

  • Help identify any issues with our Health & Safety policies and any areas which may need improvement.
  • Help identify our staff training needs and their performance.
  • Help managers monitor the productivity of staff.
  • Help managers monitor the time keeping of staff.
  • To be used as evidence in the event that an employee’s conduct is deemed unacceptable.
  • Establish the facts in the event of a complaint either by a customer or a member of staff and therefore assist in resolving it.
  • To be used to assist in investigating and to support the investigation of complaints or to see if we need to provide further training and support to our staff.
  • Assist in quality control to identify any issues in processes, with a view to improving them.
  • For the prevention & detection of crime.
  • To assist with security of our premises.
  • To assist with an investigation for loss of product or if a client advises they did not receive a product.
  • To assist with an investigation into any financial loss when a client makes payment or when cashing up/banking is done.
  • To assist with management of parking of both employees and visitors.
  • To assist with an investigation into parking/driving disputes captured on our CCTV by either an employee or a visitor.

Communicating CCTV systems are in place

  • We will make every reasonable effort to communicate that CCTV is in operation.  This will be done by: Publishing this policy on all 4 of our veterinary websites www.meophamvets.co.uk, www.swanscombevets.co.uk, www.sevenoaksvets.co.uk, www.tonbridgevets.com
  • General notification – internal message sent to all staff to inform that CCTV is in use for the purposes outlined within this document.
  • All staff read the privacy policy on induction & sign to say they have understood the contents within.
  • It is clearly displayed in our reception & around the building of all 4 practices that CCTV is in operation.
  • Cameras are visible and not hidden.

Procedures to prevent the recording of sensitive data

We have considered achieving our outcome using alternative, less privacy intrusive methods without the need for surveillance systems.

  • We only use it in locations where it achieves our specific purpose(s).
  • We have assessed any potential impact the use of surveillance may have on the rights and freedoms individuals have under data protection law.
  • We do not use audio recording and if there are any audio capabilities within our system then they are switched off by default.
  • We have taken steps to make it clear to individuals that CCTV visual recording is taking place.

Procedures for managing and releasing CCTV

  1. The recordings shall be stored securely, with access to the recordings controlled and managed by the Meopham admin staff or branch Head Vet & Head Nurses only.
  2. Access to the recordings is only allowed to satisfy a clearly defined business need and reasons for requesting access must be formally authorised only by senior management. All requests for CCTV recordings should include the following:
    1. The valid reason for the request.
    2. Date and time of the incident if known
    3. Where possible, the names of all parties involved.
    4. Any other information on the nature of the request
  3. The browsing of recorded footage for no valid reason is not permitted.
  4. Viewing of CCTV records will be carried out in a restricted area in which other employees will not be able to witness when viewing is occurring.
  5. The Data Protection Act allows persons access to information that we hold about them. This includes CCTV, therefore the recordings will be stored in such a way to enable the Practice Manager to retrieve information relating to one or more individuals as easily as possible.
  6. Requests for copies of CCTV recordings made as Subject Access Requests under the Data Protection Act must be notified in writing to the Practice Manager immediately and, subject to assessment, he/she will request the CCTV images and arrange for the individual concerned to have access to view the footage.
  7. Employees may request copies of CCTV relating to them, this request will need to be made in writing to the Practice Manager, you will receive a response within 30days.
  8. In the case of a request from an external body in connection with the detection or prevention of crime e.g. the Police, the request should be forwarded to the Practice Manager who will complete the request for CCTV access.
  9. CCTV recordings will be stored electronically in a secure environment for 30days and will be automatically deleted, in line with the Retention Policy of 30 days.
  10. Images produced by the CCTV are intended to be as clear as possible and are deemed fit for the purpose they are intended.  Equipment is regularly monitored to ensure it is working accurately and clearly.
  11. Downloaded/saved CCTV images will be destroyed and deleted once they are no longer required or relevant.

Last updated 20.5.24