Forres GP Practices

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Access for Others

Sharing information and consent

Why is it important that information is shared with you?

Healthcare staff have a duty to keep patient information confidential. However, staff also know that sharing information can be important to the health and wellbeing of both the patient and you. Staff are aware that it makes things easier for you and the patient if you are included in discussions and decisions about the patient’s care. These can be about practical, financial or personal things. So you can see that this can be a difficult situation for both staff and carers and why it helps to talk about it with the healthcare staff.

When can information about a patient be shared?

Sometimes healthcare staff have to break this rule of confidentiality, which means they must share information with other people. Staff have clear guidelines that they must follow if this happens.

What happens if a patient refuses to give consent to share information?

When a patient refuses to give consent, carers need to be given enough information so they can care for the patient when they leave hospital. However, it is always best to discuss sharing information with the patient, carer and healthcare staff. If healthcare staff give general information about an illness, medication or emotional and practical support for carers this does not breach patient confidentiality.

What is meant by ‘lacking capacity?’

This is when a patient is not able to understand and use the information they are being given about their care. Healthcare staff would then provide the best care and would often involve a carer in decisions about that care.

Power of Attorney or Guardianship

Some carers have a Welfare Power of Attorney or have legal Guardianship for the person they care for. As long as these are registered, the carer has the right to make informed decisions on behalf of the patient when they are deemed to have lost their own ability to make informed decisions (see further information about adults with incapacity at the Scottish Government website). This should always be done with respect to their knowledge of the patient’s wishes before they lost their capacity.

Please contact the Practice if you wish further information.