Describe how legislation, policies and procedures promote the safety of individuals in a health or social care setting.

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Unit 3 – Health, safety and security

                                                         Task 3

P2- Outline how legislation polices and procedures relating to health, safety and security influence health and social care settings.

M1- Describe how legislation, policies and procedures promote the safety of individuals in a health or social care setting.  

Health, safety and security issues are extremely important in health and social care sectors in order to protect patients, service users and also those working within the sectors.

  The country is governed by legislation and regulations to ensure that guidelines are followed to enforce safety and security within an organisation. Legislation is law which has been promulgated by a legislature or other governing body. Before a piece of legislation becomes law it may be known as a bill, and may be broadly referred to as legislation while it remains under consideration to distinguish it from other business. Legislation can have many purposes: to regulate, to authorize, to proscribe, to provide (funds), to sanction, to grant, to declare or to restrict.

  The Data Protection Act 1998 is an example of a piece of legislation, the purpose of the 1998 Act is to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of living individuals, and in particular their right to privacy with respect to the processing of their personal data. It puts in place duties on employers/employees to ensure confidential and appropriate handling of ‘sensitive personal data’, sensitive personal data includes information such as a person’s name, date of birth, address, marital status, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment plan and medication. The Data Protection Act also gives individuals the right to see personal data and information held or processed about them, provided they request it in writing. It is an illegal offence to breach any aspects of the Data Protection Act, a breech of confidentiality is only permissible if ‘to not breach confidentiality would put someone at significant risk of harm’, for example if there was a believable threat of violence or suicide. Confidentiality is an essential part of the relationship between any healthcare provider and its patients/service users. It helps to promote health, safety and security within a care setting because without the security to speak freely and the knowledge that personal details will be respected and protected, a patient/service user may not disclose important information. Without such information, a full and accurate understanding of the patient’s/service user’s symptoms, needs or reasons for seeking help may not be fully obtained. This could put a service user/patient at risk of harm as they may not be treated for infections or illnesses if they have not disclosed these problems to a carer or appropriate member of staff. A risk of harm to the staff, to the wider community and also to other service users could also materialise in the event that these problems are left untreated. Therefore in order to ensure the health, safety and security of both the staff and the service users it is essential for personal information to be stored in the correct way according to the Data Protection Act, for example having password-accessed computer systems, restrictions for changing stored information and locks on filing cabinets containing any personal data, it is also important for employers to ensure that all employees understand the importance of the DPA and put it into practice.

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   Policies are another thing put in place to enforce health, safety and security within the workplace. A policy is typically described as a principle or rules to guide decisions. The term is not normally used to denote what is actually done; this is normally referred to as a procedure. Policies can be different within different working environments and organisations although all policies will relate to legislation, for example polices may be in place within a health and care environment for the correct disposal of medicines/needles, whereas a building working environment may have policies in place for dealing with the ...

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