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Staff confidentiality code of conduct

  1. Introduction

Everyone working for the practice is under a legal duty to keep patients’ personal information confidential. Patients who believe their confidence has been breached may make a complaint to the practice and they could take legal action. In the case of a registered dental professional the patient could also make a complaint to the General Dental Council.

  1. Purpose

This Staff Confidentiality Code of Conduct has been produced to ensure all staff members at The Barbara Castle Dental practice are aware of their legal duty to maintain confidentiality, to inform them of the processes in place to protect personal information; and to provide guidance on disclosure obligations.

  1. Scope

The code is concerned with protecting personal information about patients, although its content would apply equally to staff personal information. Personal information is data in any form (paper, electronic, tape, verbal, etc) from which a living individual could be identified; including name, age, address, and personal circumstances, as well as sensitive personal information like race, health, sexuality, etc. Although the Data Protection Act 1998 is only relevant to the personal information of living individuals, this code also covers information about deceased patients. The code applies to all staff including permanent, temporary, and locum members of staff.

  1. Recognise your obligations 

A duty of confidence arises out of the common law duty of confidence, employment contracts and for registered dental professionals, it is part of your professional obligations. Breaches of confidence and inappropriate use of records or computer systems are serious matters which could result in disciplinary proceedings, dismissal and possibly legal prosecution. So, make sure you do not:

  1. Keep personal information private

Make sure you comply with the following staff guidelines which set out practical things you should do to keep personal information protected:

  1. Disclose with appropriate care

The Barbara Castle Dental practice will ensure that patients are adequately informed about the use and disclosure of their personal information in during consultation. This will tell them why, how and for what purpose personal information is collected, recorded and used in the practice. You should ensure you are familiar with the patient information material and ensure you seek advice from the Information Governance lead, Dr Irene Amrore, if patients have questions you are unable to answer.

If you are authorised to disclose personal information you should ensure you do so in accordance with the Information handling procedures and you must only:

If you are authorised to disclose information that can identify an individual patient for non-healthcare purposes (e.g. research, financial audit) you must only do so if:

Under the common law duty of confidence, identifiable personal information may be disclosed without consent in certain circumstances, these are:

You must refer all requests for disclosure of personal information without the consent of the patient, including requests from the police, to the practice’s Information Governance lead, Dr Irene Amrore.

  1. Approval

This code has been approved by  Dr Irene Amrore and will be reviewed on an annual basis.

Barbara Castle Dental

Reviewed 10/12/2017

Next review 1012/2018