Headway Basingstoke respects the right of all service users and employees to principles of confidentiality. All Headway staff and volunteers have a duty to keep confidential any information they learn about service users and not disclose information without permission, other than in exceptional circumstances.
Headway has a duty of care to protect staff, volunteers and service users and to act in their best interests at all times.
Headway believes that there might be occasions when it could be responsible to breach confidentiality for example:
1. With client’s consent.
2. When the service user is not ‘competent’ to give consent and to disclose information is deemed to be in their best interest.
3. Disclose to colleagues – when the disclosure is considered to be necessary in the public interest or in the best interest of the service user.
4. Statutory duty – e.g. drug misuse, or disclosure is required by law or by order of the court.
5. If the psychological, social or physical wellbeing of the service user or a ‘minor’ might be at risk.
Confidentiality should only be broken in exceptional circumstances and should only occur after careful consideration that the action can be justified.
Headway staff should consider the safety of all service users and volunteers when handling potentially harmful confidential information and if required seek further advice from the Board of Trustees.
Headway staff should ensure that all service users and volunteers have access to and are aware of this statement and to ensure that safeguards are in place to protect the interests of service users and volunteers.
Headway staff need to adhere to this policy and to seek the guidance/advice from the manager or senior person where required.
Rare situations may arise which give rise to exceptions to the duty of confidentiality where confidential information may relate to: a) Harm to other service users or b) harm to the person sharing confidence. In such circumstances Headway reserves the right for staff to break their duty of confidentiality and to take the information to a senior member of staff.
In such rare circumstances:
1. The relevant service user will be informed of the position, and full details will be discussed with the service user.
2. Appropriate notes will be made in the care plan and these notes will be open to inspection by the service user.
3. The information will only be given to those who absolutely need to know the wider issues of confidentiality of that information will apply.
4. The service user will be free to make a complaint through Headway Complaints Procedure.
New and prospective service users should be given a copy of this confidentiality statement on initial assessment. Every effort should be made by staff to ensure that all users fully understand the implications of this statement. Staff performing an initial assessment should ensure that the new service user understands and has read the following statement:
To help us make an assessment of your needs, we will need to ask personal information about your circumstances and to record information. We will not share this information with anyone without your agreement and it will be kept in a confidential file, which will be kept locked in a filing cabinet. Only Headway staff with permission to see the file will have access to it. Headway will record in the file, on a regular basis, information relevant to your placement and will pass on information relevant to your day to day support to your keyworker. You may have access to your records at any time to see what is actually being recorded.
It is Headway’s policy that all information we receive about or from service users is confidential and that only those people who need to know the information will have access to it.
Headway will always ask your permission before we share information service users have given us with anyone else. In certain circumstances, however, we may need to share information, in your best interests, and reserve the right to do so.
Request for Information
Headway will not provide information to relatives, spouses, friends, carers or advocates without the consent of the individual service user concerned. All enquiries for information, even if they are close relatives, should be referred back to the service user or their permission sought before disclosure. Relatives, spouses, friends, carers or advocates need to be aware of this policy.
In certain circumstances staff may be asked for reports by insurance companies, solicitors, or employees for example. Before providing any such information, written consent from the service user is required and staff must never divulge information without consent unless obliged to by law.
Headway Basingstoke does not comment on any local and national media enquiries but refers them to Luke Griggs, Director of Communications at Headway – the brain injury association.
Human Rights Act
The Human Rights Act 1998 Article 8 (Right to respect for Private and Family Life) states:
1. Everyone has the right to respect for their private family life, their home and their correspondence.
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as in accordance with the law necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic wellbeing of the country, for the prevention of disorder of crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedom of others.