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Introduction and Background

The guidance provided in this document is to assist Trust managers when dealing with enquiries from the Police, the Coroner, Social Services, the Health and Safety Executive and other external agencies.

Where appropriate, this document refers to other Trust Policies, which may provide more detailed and comprehensive guidance. Further guidance may also be available from the Trust’s Data Protection Officer, Caldicott Guardian and Senior Information Risk Officer (SIRO).

In certain circumstances, it will be necessary to consider this policy in conjunction with guidance published by The Department of Health; The General Medical Council; The Nursing and Midwifery Council and others. Useful contact and website details are listed at the back of this document.

The guidance contained within this policy must not be considered to be exhaustive. It is not possible to account for every possible scenario or eventuality. In certain circumstances, it will be necessary to seek advice from more senior colleagues as necessary.


The Duty of Confidentiality

The Trust has a legal and ethical duty to ensure that information held by the Trust is confidential and should only be used for the care or treatment of the patient. Information may be disclosed to a third party with the patient's consent. Wherever possible, written consent should be obtained. In the majority of cases, information held by the Trust must not be disclosed to a third party in the absence of the patient's consent.

The duty of confidentiality arises from the principle that an individual has the right to expect that information relating to their health and well being will be held in confidence and will be used for their own benefit. This principle has been reinforced by the common law and Statute, in particular Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights: "respect for private and family life" which is embodied in The Human Rights Act 1998.


Policy Details

Download: PDF version
Compiled by: Jill Down, Head of Customer Affairs
Ratified by: Trust Executive Committee
Date Ratified: June 2010
Date Issued: August 2010
Review Date: June 2013
Target Audience: All staff
Contact name: Jill Down, Head of Customer Affairs


See also:

  • Surrey Manual of Child Protection Procedures
  • Medicine Policy
  • Procedure for Destruction of Controlled Drugs (CD’s) by an authorised person.
  • Missing patient Policy.
  • Abuse or Suspected Abuse of Vulnerable Adults; Guidelines for Staff.
  • Guidance for Doctors on Post Mortem Examinations.
  • Reporting and Management of Incidents
  • Policy for Handling Press/Media Enquiries
  • Assessing a Patient’s Mental Capacity to make Decisions, Guidance for Staff
  • Surrey Multi-Agency Information Sharing Protocol (MAISP)
  • Confidentiality Policy
  • Information Security Policy
  • Patients Property Policy
  • Policy for the Management of Violence and Aggression