Confidentiality and mental health
You and the person you’re looking after have a right to expect social services and healthcare workers to keep your personal information confidential. In most cases, information about you should not be passed to third parties, such as workers in the voluntary sector, local councillors or other members of your family, without your consent.
Personal information held by social services or a healthcare organisation should be kept in office files or in computer records that are only accessible to those who are involved in your care. These organisations must keep the information very secure. Normally, organisations have a written policy about confidentiality, and you can ask to see it.
The Data Protection Act is a law that applies to all social services and health records. It means that any information about you should be kept accurately and securely, and there should be measures restricting who can see it.
There are circumstances when an authority may have the right to break the rules about confidentiality. This is normally in extreme situations, for example, when there are concerns about a child’s safety, or when it’s suspected that terrorism or proceeds from crime are involved