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The NHS Confidentiality Code of Practice

  • Last modified date:
    26 November 2010

Guidelines on the use and protection of patient information

Supplementary guidance: public interest disclosures

Published: 22 November 2010

This document expands upon the principles set out with the Department of Health’s key guidance Confidentiality: NHS Code of Practice. The document is aimed at aiding staff in making difficult decisions about when disclosures of confidential information may be justified in the public interest.

Approved DH guidance (2003)

The NHS Confidentiality Code of Practice is a guide to required practice for those who work within or under contract to NHS organisations concerning confidentiality and patients' consent to use their health records It replaces previous guidance. HSG(96) 18/LASSL (96(5 - The Protection and Use of Patient Information, and is a key component of emerging information governance arrangements for the NHS.

The code of practice public consultation

The code of practice was put out for DH stakeholder and public consultation between October 2002 and January 2003. The consultation included key regulatory bodies such as the Information Commissioner (IC), British Medical Association (BMA) and General Medical Council (GMC) who along with others have helped develop, agree and support this final version. The consultation was undertaken as part of the development of a wider confidentiality communications strategy jointly led by DH and the NHSIA.

Additional links

Using and protecting patient information

Guidelines were produced on the use and protection of patient information in November 2003. Supplementary guidance on public interest disclosures was issued in November 2010.

Using health records respectfully (opens new window)

The NHS use records about patients in ways that respect their rights and promote health and wellbeing.

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