Contents: Confidentiality: good practice in handling patient information


 About this guidance  
    Other material available  
 Ethical and legal duties of confidentiality  1-4
    Acting within the law  5-7
The main principles of this guidance  8
Disclosing patients' personal information: a framework  9-25
   When you can disclose personal information  9-12
   Disclosing information with a patient's consent  13-15
   Disclosing information when a patient lacks the capacity to consent  16
   Disclosures required or permitted by law  17-19
   Disclosures approved under a legal process  20-21
   Disclosures in the public interest  22-23
   Disclosures prohibited by law  24
   Flowchart  25
Using and disclosing patient information for  direct care  26-49
   Sharing information for direct care  26
      Implied consent and sharing information for direct care  27-29
      Patient objections to sharing information for direct care  30-31
      If a patient cannot be informed  32-33
  Sharing information with those close to the patient  34
     Establishing what the patient wants  35-36
     Abiding by the patient's wishes  37-38
     Listening to those close to the patient  39-40
  Disclosing about patients who lack capacity to consent  41-43
     Considering the disclosure  44-47
     If a patient who lacks capacity asks you not to disclose  48-49
Disclosures for the protection of patients and others  50-76
  Disclosing information to protect patients  50
     Disclosing information about children who may be at risk of harm  51
     Disclosing information about adults who may be at risk of harm  52
     Legal requirements to disclose information about adults at risk  53-54
     Disclosing information to protect adults who lack capacity  55-56
     The rights of adults with capacity to make their own decisions  57-59
  Disclosing information to protect others  60-72
     Legal requirements to disclose information for public protection purposes  61
     Disclosing information with consent  62
     Disclosing information in the public interest  63-70
     Responding to requests for information  71-72
     Disclosing genetic and other shared information  73-76
Using and disclosing patient information for secondary purposes  77-80
   Anonymised information  81-86
      The process of anonymising information  84-85
      Disclosing anonymised information  86
  Disclosures required by statutes or the courts  87-94
      Disclosure required by statute  87-89
      Disclosing information to the courts or to obtain legal advice  90-94
  Consent  95
  Disclosures for health and social care secondary purposes  96-114
     Clinical audit  96-98
     Disclosures for financial or administrative purposes  99
     The professional duty of candour and confidentiality  100-101
     Openness and learning from adverse incidents and near misses   102
     Disclosures with specific statutory support   103-105
     Public interest disclosures for health and social care purposes  106-112
     Ethical approval for research  113-114
  Requests from employers, insurers and other third parties  115-116
Managing and protecting personal information  117-138
    Improper access and disclosure  117-121
    Knowledge of information governance and raising concerns  122-124
    Processing information in line with the Data Protection Act 1998  125-127
    Records management and retention  128-130
    The rights of patients to access their own records  131
    Communicating with patients  132-133
    Disclosing information after a patient has died  134-138
Legal annex
 Sources of law on confidentiality, data protection and privacy
    The common law
    Data Protection Act 1998 (UK)
    Human Rights Act 1998 (UK)
    Freedom of Information Acts across the UK
    Computer Misuse Act 1990 (UK)
 Regulation of healthcare providers and professionals
 Laws on disclosure for health and social care purposes
    Health and Social Care Act 2012 (England)
    Health and Social Care (Safety and Quality) Act 2015 (England)
    Health and Social Care (Control of Data Processing) Act 2016 (Northern Ireland)
    Section 251 of the NHS Act 2006 (England and Wales)
 Statutory restrictions on disclosing information about patients
    Gender Recognition Act 2004 (UK)
    Human Fertilisation Act and Embryology Act 1990 (UK)
    National Health Service (Venereal Diseases) Regulations 1974 and NHS Trusts and Primary Care Trusts (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) Directions 2000