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Doctor, patient Confidentiality

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Introduction: The protection of patient / clients rights within a care situation is an area of considerable importance within care work. All health care professionals owe patients / clients a duty of care. Health care professionals are under a legal obligation to ensure that they observe and follow the requirements of the legislation that protects the rights and interests of their patients / clients under their care involving issues of confidentiality. Care professions are founded on the principle that its members may be relied upon to conduct their work in a manner that will reflect credit on themselves and bring honour to their profession; this principle is universally understood within the care profession. Therefore the health care profession must enforce strict rules and guidelines among its members. To this end the code of professional conduct, as approved by the nursing and midwifery council (2002a) is issued to all qualified members of nursing and midwifery (NMC code of professional conduct, 2002a). Importantly, the protection of clients' rights in care situations is an area of considerable importance within care work; all health care professionals owe patients / clients a duty of care and are under a legal obligation to ensure that they observe the requirements of the legislation protecting the rights and interests of their patient / clients involving issues of confidential information. Moreover, users of care services have become more aware of their rights over the years and their expectations of care services are now much higher than previously. Patients / clients rights and interests are now protected through care related law, such as the Data protection act 1984, government charters such as The patients' charter, and the NMC code of practice 2002. Hence, the code was developed as a basis to professional practice, it is used to deal with failure, shape and influence the role of nurses, and learning from the past mistakes, which is vital to the success of any code of conduct. ...read more.


* Never deliberately disclosed so as to break confidentiality, other than in exceptional circumstances. Care practitioners must always be able to justify their decisions to break confidentiality (Dimond, 2002). Care workers write down a lot of confidential information in patient / clients notes. Many disclosures relating to matters of patient confidentiality are unintentionally done. The care worker should never discuss a patients / clients personal or confidential information where they may be overheard, patients / clients medical notes should never be left where they can be seen by other patients / clients, unauthorised health care staff or members of the general public. For example GP keeps all medical notes in a file at his surgery. Increasingly patient / client notes are produced and stored on computer. The confidentiality of patients / clients notes should be protected by locking all files and reports in secure cabinets, by limiting access to them, by ensuring access to computer records are protected by the use of passwords and by avoiding conversation about service users in front of non-team members, confidential information can be kept secure (The data protection act 1998), (Appendix 2). Disclosing Confidential Information There are times when care practitioners have to reveal what they have been told, or have seen, to a more senior person at work or to an external organisation. Patients / clients' request that you keep what they tell you a secret can be overridden if: * What they reveal involves them breaking the law or planning to do so. * They tell you that they intend to harm himself or herself or another person. * They reveal information that can be used to protect another person from harm. Care workers should never promise a client that what they say would be absolutely confidential. They should explain that, depending on what they are told or observe, there are times when they may have to share information with their colleagues and other authorities. ...read more.


* They are required by law or by order of a court 5.4 Where there is an issue of child protection, you must act at all times in accordance with national and local policies. APPENDIX 2. Data Protection Act 1984 - eight principles * The information to be contained in personal data shall be obtained, and personal data shall be processed, fairly and lawfully. * Personal data shall be held only for one or more specified and lawful purposes. * Personal data held for any purpose or purposes shall not be used or disclosed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes. * Personal data held for any purpose or purposes shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to that purpose or those purposes. * Personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date. * Personal data held for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for the purpose or those purposes. An individual shall be entitled: (A) at reasonable intervals and without undue time or expense (i) to be informed by any data user whether he holds personal data of which that individual is the subject; and (ii) to access any such data held by a data user; and (B) where it is appropriate, to have such data corrected or erased. Appropriate security measures shall be taken against unauthorised access to, or alteration, disclosure or destruction of, personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of personal data. Reference List * Beauchamp, T & Childress, J (2001) Principles of Biomedical Ethics, USA: Oxford University Press. * Dimond, B (2002) Legal Aspects of Nursing ,London: Longman. * Downie, R & Calman, K (1994) Healthy Respect: Ethics in health care, Great Britain: Oxford University Press. * Kenworthy, N, Snowley, G, Gilling, C (2003) Common Foundation Studies in Nursing, London: Churchill Livingstone. * Mallett, J & Dougherty, L (2000) Manual of Clinical Nursing Procedures, Denmark: Blackwell Publishing. * Rumbold, G (1999) Ethics in Nursing Practice, London: Bailliere Tindall. Student no: 03084868 1 ...read more.

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