The Policy applies to all employees and Partners and also applies to other people who work at the Practice e.g. Locum GP’s, non-employed nursing staff, temporary staff and contractors (all of whom are collectively referred to as staff below)
- Staff must not under any circumstances disclose patient information to anyone outside the Practice, except to other health professionals on a need to know basis, or where the patient has provided written consent.
- All information about patients is confidential; from the most sensitive diagnosis, to the fact of having visited the surgery or even being registered at the Practice.
- Staff must not under any circumstances disclose confidential information about the Practice to anyone outside the Practice unless with the consent of the Practice Manager or one of the Partners.
- Staff should limit any discussion about confidential information only to those who need to know within the Practice.
- The duty of confidentiality owed to a patient who is under 16, or who lacks the capacity to give or withhold consent is as great as the duty owed to any other patient.
- Staff must be aware of and conform to the Caldicott recommendations.
- All patients can expect that their personal information will not be disclosed without their permission (except in the most exceptional circumstances when somebody is at grave risk of serious harm and disclosure is required).
- Electronic transfer of confidential information must be approved by the Practice Manager or a Partner and take place through NHS Net. Staff must take care that confidential information is not transmitted in error, by email or over the internet.
- Staff must not take data from the Practice‘s computer systems or off the premises on memory sticks or removable drives, without the PM’s or a Partners permission.
- Any member of staff who suspects a breach of confidentiality must inform the PM or a Partner immediately.
- Any breach of confidentiality will be considered as a serious disciplinary offence which may lead to dismissal.
- Staff who are no longer employed by the Practice are still bound by the requirement to keep information confidential.
- Always knock and wait for permission to enter a surgery or the treatment room from the clinician.
- Never give a patient’s results to someone else, other than a child’s result to a parent. The only exception being when a person does not speak English, then we may give the result to someone who attends with them and translates the information to the patient while they are both in the surgery.
- When speaking to each other when it is difficult to be discreet regarding a patient, use the patient’s number rather than the name so that the patient remains anonymous.
- To not allow confidential information to be visible in public places. When leaving prescriptions or documents where it is possible that patients may see them, turn them upside down, with no patient information showing.
- If someone requests information regarding a patient and you are at all unsure, ask them to fax or email the request to us.
- All requests for medical reports for insurance purposes etc, must include a written permission slip from the patient involved.
- Try to form a habit of thinking twice before revealing any information regarding patients.
Responsibilities of Practice Staff:
- All staff must make every effort to protect confidentiality.
- No identifiable information is to be passed to anyone or another agency without the permission of the patient, except when essential for providing care or to protect their health and wellbeing.
- Work as a team to maintain confidentiality and to avoid improper disclosures.
Responsibilities of Employers:
- To ensure that everybody employed by the Practice understand the need for and maintains confidentiality.
- Have systems and mechanisms in place for ensuring confidentiality.
- To store and dispose of confidential information in accordance with the data protection act 1998 (details to be found on legislation.gov.uk website).
If Disclosure is necessary:
- If a patient is at grave risk of serious harm, which disclosure to an appropriate person would prevent, take advice from colleagues or an appropriate regulatory body in order to decide whether disclosure is justified to protect the patient.
- If the decision is taken to disclose always inform the patient before disclosure takes place, unless it is dangerous to do so.
- If possible share any such decision with another team member.
Your medical records are held in strictest confidence. Information is only passed on with your consent, within the confines of the NHS, by law, or if in the public interest. The practice is computerised and certain details of your medical records are kept on computer. These are strictly confidential and the practice is registered with the Data Protection Act. All members of staff, clinical and clerical have signed the Data Protection Agreement. If you feel you are not being treated with the confidence you deserve, please do not hesitate to speak to one of the supervisors.