Reflective accounts

Patient confidentiality

Respecting patients’ wishes is a crucial aspect of safeguarding in nursing. After reading the CPD article, I am knowledgeable about the legislation and policies relating to confidentiality and information management.

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Nurses should understand the law regarding confidentiality; they must act within the bounds of the law and be accountable for their actions. Under the Human Rights Act 1998, an individual has the ‘right to respect for his private and family life’ (Article 8), while the Mental Capacity Act 2005 empowers individuals to permit any information about them to be shared with others. The Data Protection Act 1998 sets out principles for handling information.

As part of their duty of care, nurses should not share information about a patient without their agreement. Consenting to treatment entails granting permission for information to be shared with the multidisciplinary team involved in that patient’s care. Nurses should ensure that information about a patient is not shared with anyone outside of that team.

Only the patient can decide if they wish confidential information about them to be shared with family

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