We know that confidentiality is of great importance to the people who use our services. For that reason, all our staff are bound by a duty of confidentiality to patients, which means that we will not routinely share information about you with anyone other than the health professionals involved in your care, such as your GP.
We only share with your GP the information they need to be able provide you with the best on-going care; such as how many sessions you attend, the measures of your symptoms (eg from questionnaires you fill in); and whether you have benefited from the service we have provided. Our practice is to send this information to you and copy the information to your GP so you will be aware of what has been shared.
If you believe it would be useful to share information with anyone else, or if we receive a request for information we hold about you, we will contact you to get your written consent before passing on any information. We will discuss with you the type and amount of information requested and you will be able to make an informed decision about whether you wish to grant permission for the information to be shared.
Exceptions to confidentiality
Your therapist will explain to you the exceptional circumstances when confidential information may need to be released.
For example if:
- There is a reason to believe that there is a risk of significant harm to you or to another person, especially if a child is at risk.
- There is a legal obligation to disclose information, for example, if a member of staff is summoned to attend court and give evidence.
Even in such exceptional cases we will always attempt to obtain your consent before disclosing any information.
Use of patient information – what information is collected by the service?
The service you receive is part of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme in England. We want to offer the best possible service to patients. To do this, we have to assess our effectiveness and to try to continually improve patient care.
This means we need to collect and analyse data about our patients, the services they receive and the effectiveness of the treatments. The information we collect about you and your care is used to monitor your progress and to plan future care.
What information is collected nationally?
Some of this information is reported nationally to give a picture of services delivered across the country. This will help to check that quality standards are similar everywhere. It also makes it possible to check that:
- Services are available to those who need them
- An appropriate range of evidence-based treatments are available
- Patients receive positive outcomes from treatment
These reports only show summary numbers of, for instance, patients receiving different types of treatment, and it is impossible to identify any person seen by any IAPT service from them. These national reports can lead to real benefits in service delivery.
No information that could reveal a patient’s identity is used in national reports.
How do we keep your information safe?
All data collected is subject to the strict rules of confidentiality, laid down by Acts of Parliament, including the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Health and Social Care Act 2001 and the NHS Care Record Guarantee. The IAPT service stores all information safely and securely. Information sent for national reporting is sent safely to a secure data storage area.
Queries and questions
IAPT national reports are most beneficial when they contain information from as many patients as possible because this creates the most accurate picture of services. If, however, you do not want your information included in national analyses, please tell the practitioner who is treating you and we will make sure your information is not used. This decision will not affect your treatment in any way.
If you would like to see the information collected about you, or find out more about how the information is stored and used locally, please speak with the people who are treating you.