Inadvertent or accidental disclosure of confidential information is a serious matter. If you think that confidential information may have been revealed by accident, or by other means such as theft of papers or computer, it is essential that you complete an incident form.
- if you are not certain whether information is confidential or not, assume it is.
- remove identifiable information (name and address) wherever possible and use other information such as the NHS number.
- do not give out information unless you are certain that the recipient has a right to hear or access it. Be especially careful on the telephone
- check the identity of the patient if you do not know who they are, before giving out information to them.
- check the identity of unknown members of staff before giving out information to them.
- do not talk about confidential matters where you can be overheard, e.g., near another patient, in the queue at the canteen, etc.
- never use patient information systems such as PAS for any reason other than those connected with patient care
- never look up information for friends of family members even at their specific request ? this must only be done by the team involved in their care
- check fax numbers yourself with the intended recipient before you send data. Use safe haven areas and call to say the information is being sent.
- ensure that Health Records and other confidential papers, etc. cannot be overlooked or accessed by unauthorised personnel.
- try to ensure that computer screens, whiteboards, etc. are not situated where they can be overlooked or accessed by unauthorised personnel
- e-mail is not secure: do not send confidential information via e-mail.
- securely package confidential papers, if they are to be transported or sent to another location.
- ensure that other forms!= of data: notebooks, diaries, appointment books, etc. are kept securely.
- dispose of notebooks, diaries, etc. when they are no longer required.
- be particularly careful if work is taken home ? the Trust is still responsible for the data and it must be kept secure at all times.
- dispose of all confidential waste by the proper means:
- confidential paper waste - shred, or put in green bags and send for shredding
- computer disks, old hard drives: call the ICT Contact Centre on 22822 and request that they be removed by an analyst for disposal.
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