Confidentiality is the duty of a person to not disclose anything learned from a patient who has attended, consulted or been treated, without that person’s consent.
Confidentiality is the cornerstone of health care and central to the work of everyone working in general practice.
All information about patients is confidential; from the most sensitive diagnosis, to the fact of having visited the practice or being registered at the practice. 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 when somebody is at grave risk of serious harm).
Responsibilities of Practice Staff
All health professionals must follow their professional codes of practice and the law. This means that they must make every effort to protect confidentiality. It also means that no identifiable information about a patient is passed to anyone or any agency without the express permission of that patient, except when this is essential for providing care or necessary to protest somebody’s health, safety or well-being.
All health professionals are individually accountable for their own actions. They should, however, also work together as a team to ensure that standards of confidentiality are upheld, and that improper disclosures are avoided.