Over recent years, there has been a growing perception that Information Governance is often cited as a reason not to share information, even when this is in the best interests of the patient or service user.
But as the nature of treatment and service delivery changes and there is an increasing emphasis on community care, health and social care organisations are becoming more inter-dependent and more reliant upon the sharing of information to provide services.
Information sharing can help to improve the quality of care and treatment, but it must be governed by the legal and ethical framework that protects the interests of patients. Without assurances of confidentiality, patients may be reluctant to provide the information needed for their treatment and care. Patients have a right to expect that information about them will be held in confidence and protected at all times against improper use and disclosure.
Patients have the right to know with whom information is going to be shared, and why. They also have the right to request that information is not shared – and staff must record these decisions in the clinical record.