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8.1.7 Information Sharing and Confidentiality

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in April 2015.


Contents

  1. General
  2. Service Users
  3. Sharing Information with Service Users' Relatives and Friends
  4. For Students and Other Non-Permanent Members of Staff Working in the Team
  5. Sharing Information Across Services
  6. Information Technology
  7. Service User Information Outside the Office
  8. Staff
  9. Caldicott


1. General

  • Professional confidentiality is essential for all staff working in Adult Social Care;
  • The spirit of the Single Assessment Process need s to be borne in mind. You must share information with other professionals when working with a person in order that the person does not repeatedly have to tell people the same information. A balance between the need for confidentiality and the need to appropriately share information should always be considered;
  • Individual service user's must give permission for information on their health and care to be shared;
  • Some things that are disclosed must be passed on to other professionals; this includes information about health care and things that may put someone at 'risk'. There may also be exceptional cases where the law or public interest will override service user's right to confidentiality. If you are unsure of what should be passed on speak with your manager;
  • The Clients of Concern database is compliant with the legislative and regulatory requirements around confidentiality - for more information see the Clients of Concern protocol;
  • There is a secure E-mail link between Sussex Community NHS Trust and Brighton & Hove City Council. This means that staff in either organisation can send and receive confidential E-mails to and from each other without danger of interception and without contravening security regulations;
  • If you are in doubt about sharing confidential information you must seek advice.


2. Service Users

  • At times it is essential to share information with other professions. When you do so you must talk to the service user before you do this, and record that you have done so using the Contact Assessment or the Agreement to Share Information form or the Agreement to share information section within the assessment documentation. Any sharing limitations should be record on the form. If they are not keen to share information you must talk this through with your manager;
  • You should only access information on service users on a, 'need to know' basis;
  • You must not discuss/disclose information about a service user or their families and friends, outside the workplace or outside of a professional context;
  • Any significant discussions or decisions made in supervision, about the service being provided to a service user, must be recorded in the relevant service user notes. Responsibility for logging this will usually rest with the supervisee;
  • Service users can access their own files and records. They can share these with friends and family. Further information is available for service users in the What You Need to Know leaflet, available on the Wave;
  • Service users can only access information about themselves, not other service users.


3. Sharing Information with Service Users' Relatives and Friends

  • It is essential to establish and record which relatives and friends each service user would like what information about them shared with. It is also important to check and record who service users do not want to share important with. This may change so it is useful to check this before each review/monitoring meeting, and record on the Agreement to Share Information Form;
  • Unless there is a lawful justification for overriding the general rule of confidentiality (e.g. adult protection issues) information should not be shared with third parties without obtaining service users' prior consent. If in doubt seek advice from the IT Partnership Manager, tel. 291207.


4. For Students and Other Non-Permanent Members of Staff Working in the Team

  • Students and other non-permanent members of staff working in the team must comply with the same principles as the rest of the team members. There is a form for students and other non-permanent members of staff working in the team to sign to confirm that they are aware of this. The form is called Confidentiality for students and other non-permanent members of staff working in the team.


5. Sharing Information Across Services

  • Sharing information for with professionals in other services needs explicit written consent of a service user. If the service user is unable to write the details of the information sharing needs to be explained and they should sign that this has been understood. Information must be shared if there are adult protection concerns;
  • Generally e-mail is not secure for transferring personal sensitive information to anywhere other than Sussex Community NHS Trust. This information is better transferred by the courier system or fax.


6. Information Technology

  • If you use Information Communication Technology (ICT) you must read the Use of ICT policy, available on the Wave;
  • You should not disclose your ICT password to others. You must log out or turn off your computers when it is not in use;
  • If you are expecting sensitive information to be sent by fax you must ask the sender to alert you before the information is sent, and you must ensure that it is safely received. If you are sending sensitive information by other means the same applies;
  • See above for information on sending e-mails.


7. Service User Information Outside the Office

  • Generally you must not remove written information about a service user from the workplace;
  • If it is necessary to transport a file or detailed information about a service user it you should not leave it in an unsecured place including a locked or parked vehicle.


8. Staff

  • You must not disclose a member of staff's private phone telephone numbers to others without the permission of that member of staff.


9. Caldicott

  • The Caldicott Report 1997 recommended that every flow of patient-identifiable information within, and from, an organisation should be tested against the Caldicott principles;
  • Adult Social Care has a Caldicott Guardian (the Director of Community Care) who ensures that Brighton & Hove City Council is fulfilling its legal obligation in managing service user records.

End