Consultation On Protecting Patient Confidentiality Launched

A consultation has been launched on a code of practice designed to help healthcare staff make the right decisions about protecting and disclosing patient information. The Code of Practice has been drawn up by the Privacy Advisory Committee.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) said: “It is essential that personal information about patients and clients can be passed easily within the health and social care service (HSC). However, all concerned need to be aware there is a legal duty to protect the confidentiality of this information.

“Following an earlier consultation it was recommended that a Privacy Advisory Committee (PAC) be established to advise HSC bodies about using patient information. The PAC guidance is now being issued for public consultation and we would encourage the wider general public to share their views about how personal information should be used and protected.”

The consultation is available on the DHSSPS website

Commenting on the Code of Practice, PAC Chair, Professor Roy McClelland said: “All Health and Social Care staff have an ethical and legal obligation to protect the information shared with them by users of the services. The aim of this code of practice, therefore, is to support staff in making good decisions about the protections, uses and disclosures of service user information. This code is intended to provide a clear reference point for all staff involved in Health and Social Care.