1.2. Summarise the main points of legal requirements and codes of practice for 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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There are a number of legal requirements and codes of practice that relate to the handling of information in care settings. Key points include:

  • Sensitive data must be handled securely, in line with the Data Protection Act 1998.
  • The Caldicott principles must be adhered to, which require that information is shared only when it is absolutely necessary, and that patients have a right to know about how their data is being used.
  • The information must be accurate and up-to-date, and care providers must take steps to ensure this is the case.
  • Patients have a right to access their records and exercise control over who can see them.
  • The Data Protection Act 1998 sets out a number of requirements for how information must be handled. Personal data must be processed fairly and lawfully, which includes maintaining accurate records. The DPA also has provisions regarding consent, rights to access and erasure, means of obtaining consent from individuals whose data is being used, the principles of processing sensitive personal data and contracts with third parties.
  • The NHS data duty of confidentiality, which was added to the Health and Social Care Act 2012, requires health and social care providers to share patient information for a range of reasons.
  • The Information Governance Toolkit has a number of requirements for assessing the risks associated with sharing confidential information.
  • Each organization (including, for example, hospitals) must appoint someone with responsibility for information governance. This may be a board member or another senior manager.

The Caldicott principles require health and social care providers to make sure that any information they share is absolutely necessary; only share medical records where it benefits the patient (such as by providing another service or when they are in contact with the relevant organization); inform patients when their data is being shared, and share only what information is necessary.

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