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2 – DHS 2: Promote effective handling of information in care settings

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

The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) is a significant piece of legislation that pertains to the handling and processing of personal information in care settings. It is applicable to any organisation that collects, processes, or stores “personal data” – information that relates directly or indirectly to a living individual, referred to as the “data subject.” This includes organisations in both the public and private sectors, such as social services providers, healthcare professionals, and housing associations.

Under this act, an individual has certain rights with regard to their personal data. They have the right to not have their data processed without their consent, except in cases where there are legal reasons for doing so. They also have the right to access records that contain their personal data upon request, to know who holds those records (e.g., hospitals have lists of all individuals whose medical history they hold), to ensure accuracy within these records (including being able to update incorrect details if necessary), to restrict its use by third parties through ensuring appropriate measures are taken when transferring between organisations (such as encryption), to seek rectification if mistakes occur with their personal data, and to make a complaint if they believe the information is being used unlawfully.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) also relates to the handling and processing of personal information in care settings. It allows an individual to request access to public authority records regarding themselves or any other party. This mainly applies to public sector organisations such as local authorities or health trusts, and it works alongside the Data Protection Act, giving individuals further rights to access their own records.

Under the Health and Social Care Act 2008, there is a particular emphasis on professional codes of conduct that specifically relate to the handling of patient confidential information in care settings providing healthcare services, such as GP surgeries and hospitals. Code 4 of this act states that all practitioners must keep clear and accurate records about service users and maintain safe and secure conditions for storing data relating to patients at all times. This may include using computerised filing systems, such as electronic record keeping, with regular updates and reviews to ensure accuracy.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is responsible for regulating the care industry and assessing healthcare services to ensure they meet appropriate standards of quality and safety. As part of this process, there are detailed sets of rules and regulations known as the “Standards of Information Governance” which require organisations to have safe and secure systems and processes in place when collecting, storing, or transferring any data about patients. These measures include encrypting data where possible, setting up password access systems and employee training programs, and ensuring that only authorised individuals have the ability to access certain pieces of information related to patient records.

The GDPR is another important legislation related to the handling of personal information in care settings in Europe. This legislation is designed to protect individuals and their data and to regulate how organisations use this data. It grants individuals certain rights, such as the right to access their own data, have it corrected or deleted where appropriate, and be informed about any processing that takes place using their personal details. It also requires organisations that process this kind of information (including health professionals) to ensure that they are doing so in accordance with the law and to take appropriate measures when transferring data between different systems or providers.

The Care Standards Act 2000 provides regulatory requirements regarding how health services should be delivered within certain settings, such as adult residential homes or community support services. It outlines issues such as confidentiality and disclosure, proper handling and storage of records, and access rights by family members. In addition, it also prohibits mistreatment or abuse of vulnerable adults receiving these kinds of services, setting clear expectations for how organisations should protect individuals from harm.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) Code of Practice is a code of practice issued by the ICO, the UK’s independent authority on data protection. It provides guidance on how to handle personal data in a way that complies with the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018.

The National Health Service (NHS) Code of Confidentiality sets out the standards for handling personal and sensitive information in the NHS. It applies to all staff working in the NHS, including those working in care settings.

The NHS Care Record Guarantee is a set of principles that sets out the rights of individuals with respect to their NHS care records and the obligations of NHS organisations that hold and process these records.

This legislation and codes of practice provide an essential framework for protecting personal and sensitive information within care settings. They help organisations better protect their patient’s rights and privacy while effectively and safely managing vital healthcare services.

Other answers in the full document:

  • 1.2 Summarise the main points of legal requirements and codes of practice for handling information in care settings
  • 2.1 Describe features of manual and electronic information storage systems that help ensure security

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