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Disclosure of Information Without Specific Consent

EthicalDisclosure of information is sometimes required to provide healthcare to the patient and does not require the patient’s specific consent each time, as long as patients have previously been made aware of how their information might be used and shared when they registered with the practice. It is only when something out of the norm is taking place that specific consent is required.

Disclosure to third parties such as the Practitioner Services Division (PSD) [1], NHS Boards and Dental Reference Officers [2] is a requirement to enable systems to function, and dentists are required to provide relevant information to any of the aforementioned parties within 14 days of a request. Paragraph 27 of the Terms of Service for Dentists deals with records. The Terms of Service for Dentists can be found under Schedule 1 of The National Health Service (General Dental Services) (Scotland) Regulations 2010 [3].

Ensure, on registration with the practice, patients are made aware of how their personal information might be shared (e.g. fair processing notice) (see DPA in Brief).

Treat disclosure of information for healthcare reasons as disclosure to people who ‘need to know’. Examples include:

  • referral to another dentist;
  • discussions with medical practitioners;
  • information sent to laboratories.

When personal information is required to enable care to be provided within the NHS, provide the minimum amount of information necessary.

Sources of Information