What is confidentiality?
Confidentiality refers to the right individuals have to keep their medical records, sensitive details and identifiable information disclosed to healthcare practitioners private. Confidentiality means that all members of staff in a health and social care setting, both clinical and non- clinical, must keep a confidence between themselves and a patient- as this is good practise.
- All information pertaining to patients is confidential: from the most sensitive diagnosis, to the fact of having visited the surgery or even being registered at the practice. This includes information about patients’ families or others associated with them.
- Confidential information may not always be health related. It can include anything that is private and not public knowledge.
- Workers will limit any discussion about confidential information to only those who need to know within the practice.
- Only the minimum amount of necessary information will be disclosed
- The duty of confidentiality owed to a person under 16 is as great as the duty owed to any other person.
- All patients can expect that their personal information will not be disclosed without their permission (except in the most exceptional circumstances when disclosure is required, e.g. when a person is at grave risk of serious harm).
- Please do not ask practice staff to disclose information about another patient, unless consent has been provided by the individual.
- No information will be given to any relative without prior written consent of the patient. This is particularly important where carers need to represent the welfare of an individual patient.
- If you wish another person(s) to be authorised to receive any information we hold about you, this needs to be in writing and signed by the patient. Medical records can then be amended to alert us to this wish.
These standards of confidentiality apply to all healthcare professionals, administrative and ancillary staff – including receptionists, secretaries, practice manager, cleaners and maintenance staff – who are bound by contracts of employment to maintain and uphold confidentiality.