The purpose of the Confidentiality Policy is to lay down the principles that must be observed by all who work within NHS England and have access to person-identifiable information or confidential information. All staff need to be aware of their responsibilities for safeguarding confidentiality and preserving information security.
All employees working in the NHS are bound by a legal duty of confidence to protect personal information they may come into contact with during the course of their work. This is not just a requirement of their contractual responsibilities but also a requirement within the common law duty of confidence and the Data Protection Act 1998. It is also a requirement within the NHS Care Record Guarantee, produced to assure patients regarding the use of their information.
It is important that NHS England protects and safeguards personidentifiable and confidential business information that it gathers, creates processes and discloses, in order to comply with the law, relevant NHS mandatory requirements and to provide assurance to patients and the public.
Confidential information within the NHS is commonly thought of as health information; however, it can also include information that is private and not public knowledge or information that an individual would not expect to be shared. It can take many forms including patient level health information, employee records, occupational health records, etc.