1.1. Identify legislation and codes of practice that relate to handling information in care settings

Course- Level 3 diploma in care (RQF)

Unit 9 – Promote Effective Handling of Information in Care Settings

L.O 1 – Understand requirements for handling information in care settings

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1.1. Identify legislation and codes of practice that relate to handling information in care settings

In the UK, legislation that relates to handling information in care settings is the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) and the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) Regulations 2013.

The DPA sets out principles for how personal data must be handled, including ensuring that it is:

  • Fairly and lawfully processed
  • Processed for limited purposes
  • Adequate, relevant, and not excessive
  • Accurately and carefully processed
  • Not kept longer than necessary
  • Processed in line with individuals’ rights
  • Securely destroyed where no longer needed.

The HSCIC is the part of the Department of Health responsible for collecting, processing, and holding information about people in England. They will be responsible for overseeing where sensitive data (e.g. medical records) are shared on the national level aftercare has been received by an individual or organization, providing that confidentiality is maintained at all times.

They will also be responsible for maintaining a register of organizations and people who have been granted access to sensitive data.

In addition to this, codes of practice are being developed which include the following:

The Care Act 2014 – Information Governance Code of Practice. This code is currently being developed by the government and will take effect from April 2015. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is currently consulting on this code.

The Data Protection Act 1998 Code of Practice 7 – Disclosures for the Purposes of National Security, issued by the Secretary of State in July 2014. The code sets out the circumstances in which information may be disclosed under section 28A(1) or 29(4) of the Data Protection Act 1998 to prevent or detect crime, protect public health and safety, or support official statistics.

The NHS Code of Practice for Health Care Workers on the Safer Handling of Patient Information – NICE guidelines (2011). These guidelines come into effect in April 2015 and aim to ensure that patient information is handled securely with up-to-date technology and increased awareness.

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