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Confidentiality of Service Users’ Information Policy

Policy Statement

Focus Care Link works on the principle that it has a duty of confidentiality to its service users. Focus Care Link regards this as being of the utmost importance and key to building trusting, caring relationships, where service users are safe in the knowledge that their confidences will be kept and where information about them will be protected safely.

It is Focus Care Link’s policy that all the information we receive about or from service users is confidential and that only those people who need to know the information will have access to it. Focus Care Link will always seek the written permission of its users prior to sharing personal information about them with anyone else.

Focus Care Link complies with Care Quality Commission (CQC) guidance, which requires the registered manager of a service to make sure that service users know that information about them is handled appropriately, and that their confidences are kept.

Values and Principles

Focus Care Link adopts the Caldicott principles of confidentiality, which were developed for health services and are equally applicable to social care. These are:

In applying these principles, the care service will then ensure that everyone involved follows these rules.

  1. All information about service users should be treated confidentially and respectfully.
  2. Any sharing of information is always needed to ensure safe and effective care.
  3. Information published about service users should always be anonymous.
  4. People have a right to object to any sharing of their personal information and this right should be respected.

These rules and rights apply to people without capacity to give their consent to any sharing or disclosure of their personal information for whom best interests decisions might need to be taken.

Procedures

To comply with this policy staff must:

Situations can arise which give rise to exceptions to this duty, where confidential information may relate to harm to other service users or harm to the person sharing the confidence. In such circumstances, Focus Care Link reserves the right for staff to break their duty of confidentiality and to take the information to a senior member of staff.

In such circumstances:

Initial Assessment Policy

New service users and prospective service users are shown a copy of the statement below and have it explained to them and their representatives so that they can understand it as fully as possible and sign it.

Every effort is made by staff to ensure that service users fully understand the implications of the policy. The member of staff performing the assessment is expected to ensure that the new service user understands and has read the following statement.

“To help us make an assessment of your needs, we will need to ask you for personal information about your circumstances and to record this information. We will not share this information with anyone, including friends and relatives, without your agreement (unless they have legal authority as guardian or attorney) and it will be kept in a confidential file which will be kept securely.

Only care staff with permission to see the file will be able to access it. Care staff will record in the file on a daily basis information relevant to your care and will pass on information relevant to your day-to-day care to your key worker or to whoever is in charge of each shift.

You may have access to your notes at any time to see what is actually being recorded. It is Focus Care Link’s policy that all the information we receive about or from service users is confidential and that only those people who need to know the information will have access to it.

Focus Care Link will always ask your permission before we share with anyone else the information you have given us.

In certain circumstances, however, we may need to share information in your best interests and may do so to fulfil our duty of care to you to keep you safe from risk of harm by following the procedures that are set out in Focus Care Link’s safeguarding policy.”

Signed (service user/lawful representative): __________________________

Countersigned (manager/representative): ___________________________

Date: ___________________________

Requests for Information

Focus Care Link will not provide information to relatives, spouses, friends or advocates without the consent of the individual service user concerned. If the person is unable to give their consent a decision will be taken in line with “best interests” procedures set by the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

All enquiries for information, even if they are from close relatives, should be referred back to the service user or the service user’s permission sought before disclosure. If the relative or person who seeks to have access to this information objects to the decision they will be asked to make a formal written complaint, which will be addressed through Focus Care Link’s complaints procedure.

Focus Care Link is also often asked for reports by insurance companies, solicitors, employers, etc. Before providing these reports we shall require written consent from the service user concerned and will never divulge information without consent unless obliged to by law.

Record Keeping

We keep files on all our service users but only keep relevant information to ensure that the care we offer as an organisation is of the highest quality. The files are only available to staff who need to use them. We keep very personal letters or notes securely.

This service makes sure that:

Focus Care Link adheres fully to the current standards on record keeping as set by the CQC.

        

Focus Care Link considers that access to information and security and privacy of data is an absolute right of every service user and that service users are entitled to see a copy of all personal information held about them and to correct any error or omission in it.

Under the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018, Focus Care Link should have a nominated data user/data controller.

The data user/data controller for this service is Sherrie Noibi.

Training

  1. New staff are required to read and understand the policies on data protection and confidentiality as part of their induction.
  2. All staff receive training on confidentiality, data protection and access to records’ policies.
  3. Training in the correct method for entering information in service users’ records is given to all care staff.
  4. The nominated data user/data controller for Focus Care Link is trained appropriately in the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018.
  5. All staff who use the computer system are thoroughly trained in its use.

Management     July 2021