Your doctors, their staff and everyone else working for the NHS have a legal duty to maintain the highest level of confidentiality about patient information. In some instances you may be receiving care from other people as well as the NHS. We may need to share some information about you with them, so that we can all work together for your benefit. Anyone who receives confidential information about you is also under a legal duty of confidence. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, e.g. when the health of others is at risk, we will not disclose your information to third parties without your permission.
We will only give your relatives, friends or carers information if you want us to and give us permission. In certain circumstances we are required by law to report information to the appropriate authorities. This information is only provided after formal authority has been given by a qualified health professional. For example:
- Notification of new births
- Where we encounter infectious diseases which may endanger the health of others (e.g. Meningitis or measles, but not HIV or AIDS)
- Where a formal court order has been issued
In order that our services and quality of care can be improved we are required to supply statistical information to agencies who monitor our performance. However, patients’ identities are always protected. Any information supplied remains confidential at all times and cannot be traced to individuals.