Thursday, 24 May 2018

GDPR Update and Data Protection

Like me, you have been probably overwhelmed by the amount of recent emails bombarding inboxes across the Euro Zone in regards to the latest development in data protection law.

Belfast Herbalist has been already following GDPR regulations since forever, but now it seems I am obliged to have to tell you all about it, in case you didn't know. In a nutshell, I hold info relating to patients on password protected computers or under lock and key in filing cabinets. I even use encrypted email services on request. Nobody can see this information without your written consent, with some exceptions. You may see you data on request, or ait to be erased with some exceptions. Full GDPR guidelines can be found here.

Belfast Heerbalist Privacy Policy

It is our policy to collect, process and share your Data provided to us by you in order to carry out the services requested by you and any contact in relation to those services only. Your Data will not be used for any other purposes other than those explicitly stated in this policy or requested by you in your dealings with us.

This Privacy Policy describes how we collect, use, protect, process and share your personal data (Data) when you book appointments online with us, directly with us and avail of treatments with us or otherwise interact with us.

This Privacy Policy does not apply to the information processed by third parties on behalf of Belfast Herbalist, however we have reviewed their Privacy Policies and are happy they meet General Data Protection Regulations 2018 (GDPR) standards.

We may update this Privacy Policy at any time to ensure we can carry out the services we provide in the most effective and efficient way possible. If we make changes we will notify you by revising the date on our published document on our website and in clinic, or for more substantial changes by contracting you via email or text to seek consent.

1. The identity of the controller:
You are hereby informed that the Data that you provide is collected, used, protected, processed and shared by the clinic director.

2. Collection of Data:
We may collect Data about our patients, prospects and visitors.

Your Data are collected when you browse our website, contact us via email, phone or in person or through our website.

Data we collect fall into the following categories:
* Identification information
* Contact information
* Medical information
* Browsing information

These Data are gathered directly from you via online booking and from direct communication with us, i.e. client intake form. Browsing history is collected via automated methods.

2.1. Information you provide to us

We process Data you provide directly to us, in particular when you complete a client intake form or book online.

For example, we collect Data when you create a booking, use the services, participate in a contest or promotion, register for an event or an online course, apply for a job, request customer support or otherwise communicate with us.

The Data may include the following data as well as any other type of information that we specifically request you to provide to us through our client intake forms, such as:

* Names
* Address
* Date of Birth
* Phone no
* Email
* Doctor’s details
* Next of kin
* Medical history
* Medical red flag
* Treatment notes
* Relationship data
* Browsing data

2.2. Data We collect automatically when you use our online services:

When you access or use our online services, we automatically collect the following information about you:

* Log Information: We log information about your use of the Services, including the type of browser you use, access times, pages viewed, your IP address and the page you visited before navigating to
 Our Services.

* Device Information: We collect information about the computer or mobile device you use to access Our Services, including the hardware model, operating system and version, unique device identifiers and mobile network information.

* Location Information: We may with your consent collect information about the location of your device each time you access or use one of Our mobile applications. If you initially consent to Our collection of location information, you may be able to subsequently stop the collection of these Data through your device operating system settings. You may also stop Our collection of location information by following the standard uninstall process to remove Our mobile applications from your device.

2.3. Information we collect automatically through Cookies and other tracking technology
We may use cookies, web beacon and other similar technologies on our online Services to collect information and provide you with the services or products that you have requested.

A “cookie” is a small text file that is placed onto an Internet user’s web browser or device and which is used to record information related to the navigation or the use of a device or a website.

A “web beacon” is a small object or image that is embedded into a web page, application, or email and is used to track activity. They are also sometimes referred to as pixels and tags (also known as “tracking pixels”). It may be used in Our Services or emails and help deliver cookies, count visits,
understand usage and campaign effectiveness and determine whether an email has been opened and acted upon. For more information about cookies, and how to disable them, please see “Your Choices” below.

We use cookies and other similar technologies to collect information for the purposes described in this Privacy Policy. We may also combine the information collected by these technologies with information we have collected about you by other means that are described in this Privacy Policy.
Some of the cookies are used for the exclusive purpose of enabling or facilitating communication or are strictly necessary for the provision of our online services.

These are essentially of session cookies for authenticating and connecting to our online services, as well as memorizing navigation items during a session.

You have the ability to decline cookies by changing the settings on your browser but this might prevent you from benefiting from some elements of our online services. You can also consult or destroy cookies if you wish, since they are stored on your hard disk.

We may also use these technologies for other purposes than our online service operation such as:
* To improve our online services;
* To remember you, for your convenience, when you use our online services.

We inform you, in particular, that We use Google Analytics to collect information about use of our online services. We do not combine the information collected through the use of Google Analytics with personally identifiable information. We inform you that Google Analytics plants a permanent cookie on your web browser to identify you as a unique user the next time you visit our site, the cookie cannot be used by anyone but Google. Google’s ability to use and share information collected by Google Analytics about your visits to this site is restricted by the Google Analytics Terms of Use and the Google Privacy Policy. You can prevent Google Analytics from recognizing you on return visits to this site by disabling cookies on your browser. For more information on Google Analytics, please visit Google Analytics.

2.4. Third Party Cookies
When you access or use our online services, one or more cookies from third party are likely to be placed on your equipment.

We inform you that we have no access and cannot exercise any control over third party cookies. However, we shall ensure that the partner companies agree to process the information collected on our online services in compliance with the GDPR and undertake to implement appropriate measures for securing and protecting the confidentiality of the Data.

3. How we use the Data

We may use information about you for the following purposes:
* provide, maintain and improve our services
* provide and deliver the service you request, process transactions and send you related information including confirmations and invoices
* send you technical notices, updates, security alerts and support and administrative messages
* respond to your comments, questions, requests and provide customer service
* monitor and analyse trends, usage and activities in connection with our services
* personalize and improve the services we provide
According to the GDPR, each Data processing is performed on one of the following legal basis:
* your consent
* the performance of the service requested by you

4. How we share your Data

* We share your Data with our online booking system to help us provide our service including bookings, transactions, booking confirmations.
* In response to a request for information if we are required by, or believe disclosure is required by, any applicable law, regulation or legal process, including in connection with lawful requests by law enforcement, national security, or other public authorities.

5. The period of Data retention
Our insurance providers require us to retain all records for a period of 7 years after the last appointment, or in the case of minors, for 7 years after their 18th birthday. We work off this for all data. (GDPR states that clients have a right to be forgotten and can request data deleted – queries have been put to the Data Protection Commissioners in regards to the conflict here).
Card details when card payments are taken over the phone. The card number is typed directly into the terminal and is never written or stored anywhere.

6. Data transfer
Upon receiving a written request from you seeking Data transfer, we will provide a hardcopy copy of your original treatment notes with no alterations from the original. These will be handed in person or sent by registered post.

7. Data amendments
Upon receiving a request from you in regards to updating Data held by us, we will seek to correct our records at the earliest possible time.

8. Security
We are committed to taking appropriate measures designed to keep your Data secure. Our technical, administrative and physical procedures are designed to protect Data from loss, theft, misuse and accidental, unlawful or unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration, use and destruction. We follow generally accepted standards to protect the personal information submitted to us, both during transmission and once it is received.

9. Your rights
Under the General Data Protection Regulations 2018 (GDPR) individuals have the significantly strengthened rights to:

* obtain details about how their data is processed by an organisation or business;
* obtain copies of personal data that an organisation holds on them;
* have incorrect or incomplete data corrected;
* have their data erased by an organisation, where, for example, the organisation has no legitimate reason for retaining the data;
* obtain their data from an organisation and to have that data transmitted to another organisation (Data Portability);
* object to the processing of their data by an organisation in certain circumstances;
* not to be subject to (with some exceptions) automated decision making, including profiling.

10. In the event of a Breach
Every precaution will be taken to avoid a breach of your Data, but if such a breach should occur, it will be documented, assessed as to its severity and appropriate action taken. The Data Proctection Commissioner will be informed, An Garda Siochana and financial institutions will be contacted for assistance and you will be contacted to help you take steps to mitigate the risks to yourself, if it is deemed a severe enough breach as to put you, your identity, your financial means etc. at risk

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Apprenticeships in Herbal Medicine September 2018

For years I have been asked to teach apprenticeships in herbal medicine. I am humbled that so many people find the little knowledge I have worth learning. So, after careful thought, I have decided to take on a small group of apprentices in Belfast this year. To my knowledge there are no practitioner level courses in herbal medicine in this part of the world. I have also designed a course which includes in-depth modules in cultivation, botany, nutrition, wildcrafting, aromatherapy and practical medicine making so that the student is able to gain the knowledge to safetly and sustainably grow, harvest, prepare and create herbal remedies. This practical study will be informed by a wide-ranging  approach to herbal medicine which embraces the wisdom of the ancients, with a modern evidence-based approach. The 3 year course is set to the highest of standards and leads to a Diploma in Herbal Medicine allowing graduates to practice the time-honoured tradition of herbal medicine at a recognized professional level. Although I will be the main lecturer on the course, I have invited some of the very best teachers from the international herbal community to share their considerable wisdom.
If you are genuinely interested in this course; have a passion for nature and wish to dedicate yourself to healing yourself and others, then send an email to expressing your interest. Full details and application forms will be sent out towards the end of March 2018. This is a unique opportunity, and may be the only time this course will run.

Botanica Conference 2018

Delighted to be one of the many speakers at the International Botanica Conference in Brighton this August. Tickets are going fast so book now to avoid disappointment.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Cork Teen Scoops Top Science Prize for Herbal Remedy
A project that led to the discovery of a potential new antibiotic capable of beating antimicrobial resistant bacteria including MRSA has won the overall prize at this year’s BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition:

This is another confirmation of the validity of the herbal tradition. Blackberry has been used to treat infection since ancient times. Dioscorides, writing almost 2000 years ago, praised the common bramble. The many uses have been described in recent research (Verma et al., 2014).

In an age of chronic antibiotic resistence, the need for the recognition of traditional herbal knowledge is needed now more than ever!

Friday, 5 January 2018

Welcome to 2018!

A happy and healthy new year to everyone!

Clinic availability - there is currently a 2-3 week wait for an appointment,barring cancellations. However, this is likely to increase in the next few weeks so I encourage you to book in sooner rather than later before the waiting list increases.

Some exciting news coming soon ...

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Pukka Herbs Sell Out to Corporate Giant

In 2001 herbalists Sebastian Pole and Tim Westwell founded Pukka Herbs, specializing in Ayurvedic herbal teas and a small range of practitioner products. I used to sell the teas at clinic as they were generally of excellent quality, but also because of the company's ethically-focused fair trade and sustainable organic farming policies. As of 2017 Pukka have become the world leader in herbal teas with a £30 million market and 30% growth according to NPG.
It was therefore deeply disappointing to find the company had been bought out by transnational behemoth Unilever. Given Unilever's dreadful track record all the sugar-coated excuses and wet corporate remonstrances from Pukka's former owners are meaningless. Many small independent health stores will soon find they cannot compete with the big supermarkets, which will lose them custom. Another nail in the coffin of the ethical business model. I will no longer be stocking their products.