Every patient, and the parents/guardians of those under the age of 16 has to be secured in the knowledge that any medical or perosnal information held within practice records, be they manual or computer, will remain within the surgery and will not be divulged to any other person. They can, in fact, expect such records to be privy between themselves and their doctor only. However, this is unworkable and so the partners allow all practice staff to have access to the patients records
Legally, the partners are liable for the integrity of the staff they employ and so, to be certain that patient confidentially is maintained, every member of staff is required to sign an undertaking not to divulge patient information. A breach of confidentiality may be treated as gross misconduct on the part of the staff member and is grounds for instant dismissal
While the need for access to patient records is reconised, it is the practice policy that such access should be restricted to the minimum nessecary for efficient administration of records. Members of staff must not abuse the privlege of access by reading information that is not relevant to their job. Information obtained must not be discussed between members of staff unless absolutly nessecary and even when nessecary such information must not be passed where it can be overheard by persons who are not employed by the practice.