Confidentiality

CONFIDENTIALITY

Purpose

  • All information held at the Practice about patients is confidential, whether held electronically or in hard copy.
  • Other information about the Practice (for example its financial matters) is confidential
  • Staff will by necessity have access to such confidential information from time to time.

The Practice regards the confidentiality of patient and staff information as prime importance.  All staff are trained to ensure that patient information remains within the confines of the Practice premises.  It is important that staff should sign a confidentiality undertaking to ensure the security of patient, Practice and personnel information, verbal, written or electronic is protected.

Applicability

The policy applies to all employees and Partners, and also applies to other people who work at the Practice e.g. locums, non-employed nursing staff, temporary staff, training staff and contractors.

The work of the Practice includes access to personal, written and computerised patient information, and at all times this should be treated as confidential and protected from unauthorised disclosure.  It is an express condition of employment that no employee may divulge to a person outside of the Practice such information or/and the outward transmission of any such information or data.

The policy also applies to Practice information, such as details of suppliers under terms of business, details of customers/clients and their requirements, the prices charged to and terms of business with patients/clients, marketing plans, financial information, results and forecasts, any proposals relating to the acquisition or disposal of a Practice or business or any part thereof or to any proposed expansion or contraction of activities, details of employees and officers and of the remuneration and the benefits paid to them, information relating to product lines, any information which the employee is told is confidential or any other information of a private, confidential or a secret nature concerning the Practice and any information that has been given to the Practice in confidence by patients, clients, suppliers, or any other persons.

Procedure

All back-up information, graphics, data, statistics, reports, etc, prepared for or obtained as a result of such work and activity is totally confidential to the Practice and must only be used for its purpose. No such information (including Medical Records) may be removed from the Practice premises (other than in the ordinary course of business) without the prior written (and express) authority of the Practice Manager or Senior Partner.

It is strictly forbidden for Staff to knowingly browse, search for or look at any information relating to themselves, their own family, friends or other persons, without a legitimate purpose.

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.

Staff must not under any circumstances disclose other confidential information about the Practice to anyone outside the Practice unless with the express consent of the Practice Manager/Senior Partner. Staff should limit any disclosure about confidential information only to those who need to know within the Practice.

Electronic Systems

Staff must take particular care that confidential information is not transmitted in error by email or over the internet. Employees may only operate within the areas of their specific duties and the security access of that individual must only be used.  Security access used by another employee's access code is strictly forbidden and could result in dismissal.

Failure to comply with the Policy

Any failure on the part of an employee of the Practice to comply with the Policy may result in disciplinary action being taken by the Practice. Depending upon the severity of the offence a breach of the Policy may be considered gross misconduct.

If staff suspect a breach of confidentiality must inform the Practice Manager/Senior Partner immediately.

Staff remain bound by the requirement to keep information and confidential even if they are no longer employed at the Practice.