Digital & Information
Una Hill
Una Hill
C. Bowring
01 December 2008
20 June 2012
01 December 2015

Employees of NHS Fife have a professional responsibility and are personally accountable for their practice. They must protect all confidential information concerning patients, clients, staff and business, making disclosures only with consent, where required by the order of a court or where justification of disclosure can be made in the wider public interest.

A. Photocopiers

It is the user’s responsibility to ensure no confidential information is left in the machine or within the vicinity of the photocopier. Waste copies containing confidential information must be disposed of in confidential waste bags.

B. Message Pads, Notebooks & Electronic Organisers

These remain the responsibility of the user.

  • Message pads, diaries, notebooks and electronic organisers containing confidential information must be held securely and not left unattended.
  • Confidential information which is no longer required must be deleted at the earliest opportunity
  • At end of life, diaries, paper pads and notebooks must be disposed of in accordance with the Business & Administrative Records Management Policy (GP/R4) and local procedures. Final disposal must be via confidential waste.
  • All information held electronically must comply with current policy, and if not owned by NHS Fife, must comply with the nonNHS Fife Equipment Policy (GP/E7)

C. Unopened Post

Any confidential material received by post and not immediately opened must be placed in a locked drawer, opened and dealt with at the first opportunity. Do not leave confidential material in a place where it can be accessed by people without authority to do so.

D. Dictation Equipment

It is the responsibility of the person using dictation equipment to ensure the cassette is recorded clearly and removed from the machine once dictation is complete. Cassettes must be placed in sealed envelopes clearly identifying the nature of dictation (report, letters, instructions, clinic letters, discharges etc.,) along with the name of the person dictating it and the date of dictation. The envelope must then be passed to the person responsible for transcription.

If not for immediate transcription, the tape must be stored in a locked office or drawer. It is the responsibility of the person transcribing the tape to ensure it is completely erased at the end of dictation. Any tapes which do not completely erase a previous recording are to be discarded by removing tape from cassette, destroying it by cutting it up before disposal in confidential waste bags. Any cassettes found within hospital premises must be handed to the employee’s line manager and an incident report completed.

E. Photographic/Video media

The production, holding, using and transmitting of photographic or video material which forms part of the patient record must comply with the Data Protection Act (1998). NHS Fife’s Data Protection Policy is currently under review, but meanwhile advice can be sought from the Data Protection Officer or Data Protection/Caldicott Co-ordinator. In relation to Safe Haven holding and transmission, clinical photographs are to be stored securely in the patient’s casenotes, with any negatives or back-up copies likewise being stored in either lockable cabinets or password protected compact disc.

F. Voice Mail & Answer phones

Voice mail must be used only in accordance with the Policies (V1) Use of Voice Mail, (T4) Use of Cordless Handsets, and (T1) Issue and Use of Mobile Telephones. Confidential information must be erased once the message has been relayed.

Staff must not leave confidential information on patient’s or staff member’s answering machines. Only the minimum of information must be left, and each case should be treated in accordance with the prevailing circumstances. Where staff are in doubt, they should seek advice from their line manager.

G. Visitor books

These must be sited in a secure area and should not be left unattended. Only the minimum information necessary is to be recorded with as few entries per page as possible.

H. Desks

Confidential information must not be left unattended on desks but stored in a locked drawer/area. It is recommended staff adopt a clear desk policy by ensuring confidential information is securely stored at the end of the working day.

I. Confidential Waste

All waste containing confidential material including fax header sheets must be disposed of in accordance with Policy (W8) Waste Management Operational Policy.

J. Healthcare records

Staff must refer to NHS Fife Health Records Policy published February 2010.

K. Email

Staff must refer to Policy (GPE6) Email Policy regarding the transfer of confidential information by email.

An Equality & Diversity Rapid Impact Assessment has been completed for this procedure No negative impacts have been identified.