Valley Dental Practice recognises that all members of the team have an ethical and legal duty to keep patient information confidential.
The relationship this practice has with each patient is based on trust that information will not be given to external persons or organisations without the patient’s consent.
All members of the practice team are expected to comply with this policy and are advised to be aware of the confidentiality clause within their staff contract. Breeches of this policy could lead to dismissal.
Standards for dental professionals, guidance from the General Dental Council, notes that practitioners must ‘protect the confidentiality of patients’ information’.
- Using information only for the purposes for which it was given
- Preventing information from being accidentally revealed
- Preventing unauthorised access by keeping information secure at all times
Only in exceptional circumstances can a breach of confidentiality be justified.
Preventing breaches of confidentiality
All confidential data is stored securely and not allowed to be placed in areas where they may be seen by unauthorised personnel.
Disclosure of information
If it is necessary to release information about a patient:
- Get the patient’s consent first, where possible, making sure the patient understands what information will be released, why and any likely consequences.
- Releases the minimum required
- Be prepared to justify decisions and follow-on action.
Responsibility for disclosure rests with Mrs Robinson. Under no circumstances can any other member of staff make such a decision.
Access to records
Patients have a right to see their records and this request should be met within 40 days. A request from a patient to see their records or for a copy must be referred to Mrs Robinson or Mrs Childs. The patient should be given the opportunity of coming into the practice to discuss the records and will then be given a photocopy.