Duty of confidentiality

Service users have a right to expect that information about them will be held confidentially.

Carers can expect that information they provide to us will be held in confidence by our care teams.

At Oxford Health it is important that our care professionals build and maintain trust with our service users and their carers to form a strong basis for us to provide good care.

Consent to share information

Confidential information about a service user should only be shared with their explicit consent. If consent has been refused, there are only exceptional circumstances when confidential information can be disclosed. These are:

  • when it is in the public’s interest. For example, a doctor may decide to share information with the police if your relative might be a risk to other people, or
  • as part of a court order or law.

If consent to share information is refused by the service user for any reason, our care professionals are still able to share general information about mental/physical health conditions, treatment options, behaviours, service contact details and can signpost carers to carer support services.

Importantly, we can listen to carers and discuss any concerns they may have.

Best practice

It is our intention to discuss consent to share information with our services users early on in their care, usually during the admission process. If the service user refuses consent to share information our care professionals will look to understand the reasons why.

It is important that our care professionals revisit discussions around giving consent to share information during their time in our care as service users can change their decision further into their care.

Care professionals are not prevented from talking to carers about facts they already know. There is only a breach of confidentiality when personal information is newly disclosed.

Sharing information between all those involved in a service users care and support can be extremely helpful to the care team, carer and the cared for.

Advance statements

Patients can make an advance statement when they are well, which will tell us what they want to happen should they get unwell.

An advance statement is about a patient’s wishes, choices and preferences. They can record anything they would like to happen as long as it is legal and related to the care provided by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. This will be held in the patient’s confidential record.

Non-urgent advice: Further information

For further information, you can download and print these helpful leaflets:

Page last reviewed: 13 January, 2023