At this practice, the need for the strict confidentiality of personal information about patients is taken very seriously. This document sets out our policy for maintaining confidentiality and all members of the practice team must comply with these safeguards as part of their contract of employment or contract for services with the practice.
The relationship between dentist and patient is based on the understanding that any information revealed by the patient to the dentist will not be divulged without the patient’s consent. Patients have the right to privacy and it is vital that they give the dentist full information on their state of health to ensure that treatment is carried out safely. The intensely personal nature of health information means that many patients would be reluctant to provide the dentist with information if they were not sure that it would not be passed on. If confidentiality is breached, the dentist/dental hygienist/dental therapist/dental nurse faces investigation by the General Dental Council and possible erasure from the Dentists or DCP Register, and may also face legal action by the patient for damages and, for dentists, prosecution for breach of the 1998 Data Protection Act.
All staff must follow the General Dental Council’s rules for maintaining patient confidentiality contained in Standards for dental professionals and Principles of patient confidentiality.
If confidentiality is breached, each registered dental professional involved is responsible to the Council for their individual conduct.
In a dental context, personal information held by a dentist about a patient includes:
This practice has adopted the following three principles of confidentiality:
Personal information about a patient:
There are certain restricted circumstances in which a dentist may decide to disclose information to a third party or may be required to disclose by law. Responsibility for disclosure rests with the patient’s dentist and under no circumstances can any other member of staff make a decision to disclose. A brief summary of the circumstances is given below.
There are certain circumstances where the wider public interest outweighs the rights of the patient to confidentiality. This might include cases where disclosure would prevent a serious future risk to the public or assist in the prevention or prosecution of serious crime.
There are circumstances when personal information can be disclosed:
Information may need to be disclosed to third party organisations to ensure the provision of care and the proper functioning of the NHS. In practical terms this type of disclosure means:
The Practice’s Data protection code of practice provides the required procedures to ensure that we comply with the 1998 Data Protection Act. It is a condition of engagement that everyone at the practice complies with the code of practice.
Patients have the right of access to their health records held on paper or on computer. A request from a patient to see records or for a copy must be referred to the patient’s dentist. The patient should be given the opportunity of coming into the practice to discuss the records and will then be given a photocopy or print-out. Care should be taken to ensure that the individual seeking access is the patient in question and where necessary the practice will seek information from the patient to confirm identity. The copy of the record must be supplied within forty days of payment of the fee and receipt of identifying information if this is requested.
Access may be obtained by making a request in writing and the payment of a fee for access of up to £10 (for records held on computer) or £50 (for those held manually or for computer-held records with non-computer radiographs). A copy of the record will be provided within 40 days of the request and fee (where payable) together with an explanation, if required.
The fact that patients have the right of access to their records makes it essential that information is properly recorded. Records must be:
The principles of confidentiality give rise to a number of practice rules that everyone in the practice must observe:
If, after investigation, a member of staff is found to have breached patient confidentiality or this policy, he or she shall be liable to summary dismissal in accordance with the practice’s disciplinary policy.
Employees are reminded that all personal data processed at the practice must by law remain confidential after your employment has terminated. It is an offence under section 55(1) of the Data Protection Act 1998, knowingly or recklessly, without the consent of the data controller William Hoy to obtain or disclose personal data. If the practice suspects that you have committed such an offence, it will contact the Office of the Information Commissioner and you may be prosecuted by the Commissioner or by or with the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Queries about confidentiality should be addressed in writing to Rohit Patel
High Street Dental Practice
102 High Street
|Mon||8:30 - 5:30|
|Tues||8:30 - 6:30|
|Weds||8:30 - 5:30|
|Thurs||8:15 - 5:30|
8:30 - 12:45
Closed for Lunch 1pm - 2pm
Tel: 01386 41569
If you would like to make an appointment please call us on 01386 41569. You can choose which dentist you would like to see at the practice but this will obviously depend on the appointment available.
For our registered patients call the surgery as early as possible and we will always try to accommodate you. An out of hours emergency service is available, please call 111.
Denplan Registered Patients Should Call 0800 844999 in an Emergency out of hours.