Confidentiality & Information Sharing:
Much has been written about both the importance of confidentiality and information sharing, and people are often confused by what is meant. It can also be confusing trying to decided what it is ok to share and in what circumstances.
It is helpful to start any professional relationship by telling people what you mean by confidentiality, and in what circumstance you might need to share information with colleagues or those outside of the organisation. For example:
‘Its important to start by talking about confidentiality. Any information you give me today or during our sessions will be kept securely, and although I may share information with my supervisor and/or team members, we won’t usually share your information with people outside of the organisation without your knowledge and consent unless we are concerned that you or someone else may be at a serious risk.’
Asking Questions of others need not breach confidentiality
‘simply asking for information from carers, relatives, friends or other people about a patient without the patient’s consent need not involve any breach of confidentiality, providing the person requesting the information does not reveal any personal confidential information about the patient which the carer, relative, friend or other person being asked would not legitimately know anyway.’ Mental Health Act 1983 Code of Practice 18.10
Although the quote above comes from a mental health law source, the principles expressed are applicable to other situations. For example, if a neighbour or another parent expresses concerns to you about a child, listening and asking questions will not automatically break confidentiality, as long as you don’t release any information that they couldn’t legitimately have known anyway.
Is the information confidential?
‘Confidential information is information of some sensitivity, not already lawfully in the public domain (or not readily...
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