With the upcoming introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in May 2018, the Veterinary Practice Management Association has published a webinar presented by Helen Thomas (Senior Policy Officer at the Information Commissioners Office), to deliver the key facts and help veterinary practices prepare for the changes ahead.

The new law, which replaces the Data Protection Directive, come into effect from 25th May 2018. All businesses will be affected, including the veterinary profession, and failure to comply could result in heavy financial penalties. It is important, therefore, that all practices start to prepare for them and ensure that they will be compliant when the new legislation comes into play next year.

Renay Rickard, president of the VPMA said: "These new regulations concern how we will manage personal data, both that of our clients and our staff, and it’s imperative that we understand them and act on them. We arranged this webinar to inform our members, and were very lucky to have such a tailored presentation directly from the regulator – helped by the fact that Helen, the speaker, comes from a veterinary practice background. It was so useful, we felt that the wider veterinary community would benefit from listening to it, so we’re pleased to open it up to non-members."

The webinar content guides listeners through the key changes ahead and the steps that practices will need to take to ensure they are compliant with the new legal requirements. This includes the impact the changes will have on marketing strategies and practice positioning on sending client reminders (e.g. vaccination, appointment); sharing case histories; passing on data regarding 'bad-debtors', as well as how to approach 'tagging' clients records (for example, re debt) in compliance with the GDPR.

The webinar also provides useful information on where to turn if practices need help and advice, as well as what to do if a data breach is detected. Finally, a detailed questions and answers session covers the day-to-day scenarios in practice that involve handling or sharing client data.

The recording can be accessed on request by emailing the VPMA Secretariat, secretariat@vpma.co.uk.

Photo: GDPR - General Data Protection Regulation. data 25 may 2018. Map EU and flag. Shutterstock/a_Jarm