The definition of a child is any person under the age of 18.The UN Rights of the Child (Article 19 UNICEF) says” Governments should ensure that children are properly cared for, and protect them from violence, abuse and neglect by their parents or anyone else who looks after them.”
We are committed to protect children from harm. All Children without exception have the right to protection from abuse. Our dental team accepts and recognises our responsibilities to develop awareness of these issues. All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.
We will pursue this by:
- Ensuring staff and patients know that we take child protection seriously and that we respond to concerns about the welfare of children.
- Ensuring that staff recruitment processes take account of the need to safeguard children and that CRB checks are carried out for all staff according to current guidance and regulations.
- Ensuring that all team members are equipped to recognise child abuse and neglect, know how to take appropriate action and are aware of the existence of this policy and guidelines and will:
- Ensure that a child’s guardian or another practice member is present at all times
- Never be alone with a child on practice premises
- Report to the partners or to the Child Protection Committee, any evidence or reasonable suspicion that a child has been physically, emotionally or sexually abused by anyone
- Respect the wishes of a child as they would an adult
- Take all reasonable steps to ensure the health, safety and welfare of any child in their care
- Treat patients under 16 only when parental consent is given
This will be achieved by:
- Regular training through e-learning, specialist trainers, discussion at staff meetings, ‘critical incident analysis’ discussion and reporting framework.
- Maintaining an up-to-date Child Protection Contact List for Designated Professionals in East Sussex which will be available to all staff.
- Reviewing the policy and good practice guidelines at regular intervals.
This will result in all team members:
- Knowing what the responsibilities are in respect of safe guarding children and child protection.
- Being equipped to recognise child abuse and neglect which may be presented in the oral health setting.
North Street Dental practice tries to ensure that all patients are pleased with their experience of our service and takes complaints very seriously. When patients complain they are dealt with courteously and promptly so that the matter is resolved as quickly as possible. We react to complaints in the way in which we would want our complaint about a service to be handled. We learn from every mistake and we respond to patients’ concerns in a caring and sensitive way.
We will pursue this by ensuring that all team members receive appropriate training, and are aware of and accept that:
- The named persons for processing and recording complaints (lead person) is Mischa Butler, Practice Manager: tel 01273 472248, or e-mail [email protected]
- When a patient complains other than in writing they will be listened to and their concerns discussed as soon as possible. Essential details of the complaint will be taken by the person receiving the complaint and passed to the dentist with whom the patient is registered. The complainant will be informed that this process is underway.
- When a patient complains in writing, the letter will be passed to the dentist with whom the patient is registered
- If a patient requests that the complaint should not be passed to the dentist, they will be informed that this is a necessary stage within the complaints procedure
- The patient’s complaint will be acknowledged in writing within 5 working days, enclosing a copy of this policy.
- We will respond to the patient within 15 working days of receipt of the complaint to give an explanation of the circumstances which led to the complaint. We will confirm the decision about the complaint within the same 15 day period.
- Complainants will be informed that if they are not satisfied with the results of this procedure, they can complain further to:
Patient Advice and Liaison Service
East Sussex Downs and Weald PCT
36-38 Friars Walk, Lewes,
East Sussex BN7 2PB
Dental Complaints Service
The Landsdowne Building
Croydon CR9 2ER
Tel: 08456 120540
North Street Dental practice recognises that our relationship with patients is based on trust. Everyone must have confidence that the information we take from them will not be divulged to any other person without their consent, and must be protected. People have a right to privacy. Everyone working for the practice is under a legal duty to keep personal information confidential Our dental team accepts and recognises the ethical and legal responsibilities to follow these principles.
This Staff Confidentiality Code of Conduct has been produced to ensure all staff members at North Street Dental Practice are aware of their legal duty to maintain confidentiality, to inform them of the processes in place to protect personal information, and to provide guidance on disclosure obligations. A duty of confidence arises out of the common law duty of confidence, employment contracts, and for registered dental professionals, it is part of your professional obligations.
Although this policy and code of conduct is concerned with protecting personal information about patients, it applies equally to staff personal information and to the practice business:
- Digital or hard copy patient health records (including those concerning all specialties and GP medical records);
- Digital or hard copy administrative information (including, for example, personnel, estates, corporate planning, supplies ordering, financial and accounting records);
- Digital or printed X-rays, photographs, slides and imaging reports, outputs and images;
- Digital media (including, for example, data tapes, CD-ROMs, DVDs, USB disc drives, removable memory sticks, and other internal and external media compatible with NHS information systems);
- Computerised records, including those that are processed in networked, mobile or standalone systems;
- Email, text and other message types.
All team members have a confidentiality clause in their contract, receive appropriate training, and are aware of and accept that:
- Information given willingly by patients includes but is not restricted to:
- The patient’s name, current address, bank account/credit card details, telephone number, e-mail address, date of birth and age, race, sexuality
- Information that the patient is or has been a patient of the practice or attended, cancelled or failed to attend an appointment on a certain day at a certain time.
- Information concerning the patient’s physical, medical, mental, social and oral health or condition
- Information about family members and personal circumstances
- Amount paid for treatment or owing or that the patient is a debtor to the practice
- Paper records, electronic records, verbal exchange
- Personal information about a patient:
- Will be collected and used only for the purpose of providing safe and effective oral health care.
- Is confidential in respect of that patient and to those providing the patient with health care
- Should only be disclosed to those who would be unable to provide safe and effective care without that information (the need-to-know concept)
- Will not be disclosed to any third party without the consent of the patient except in special circumstances:
- Special circumstance may arise where disclosure is indicated but the decision rests solely with the dentist and no other member of staff can make a decision to disclose. Dentists might make a decision to disclose information after discussion with at least one other Dentists Partner or their Defence Organisation, other professional body, or legal representative:
- When disclosure is in the public interest and serious future risk to the public or the need to assist in the prevention or prosecution of a serious crime outweighs the principle of confidentiality- i.e. where the public good that would be achieved by the disclosure outweighs both the obligation of confidentiality to the patient concerned and the broader public interest in the provision of a confidential service.
- Where the patient has given express written consent
- Where disclosure is necessary for the purpose of enabling someone else to provide health care to the patient and the patient has consented to this disclosure
- Where disclosure is required by statute or is ordered by a court of law
- Where disclosure is necessary for a dentist to pursue a bona-fide legal claim against a patient and disclosure to a solicitor, court, or debt collecting agency may be necessary
- Information will not intentionally be given to any third party except with the explicit consent of the patient, or where required by law. In such cases the medical indemnity insurance agencies will be consulted. However, the Sussex Downs and Weald PCT or equivalent body or the NHS Business Authority can demand access to NHS records. Responsibility for disclosure lies solely with the patient’s dentist. Routine transmission of date occurs to third party organisations in order to provide care and for functioning of the NHS:
- Transmission of claims to payment authorities
- Disclosure of information to the PCT/HB/DBA
- Referral to another dentist, specialist provider, consultant or hospital.
- All requests for disclosure of personal information without the consent of the patient, including requests from the police, must be referred to your medical defence organisation and to the practice’s Information Governance lead J. Aukett
- Information will be correct, checked periodically, and updated as necessary.
- All data will be stored securely and where it is not possible for other patients or individuals to see or have access to them, all electronic data will be password protected, and all records and data will be disposed of appropriately in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998
- OTHER THAN THE BACK-UP DRIVE, NO CONFIDENTIAL OR PERSONAL DATA WILL BE PERMANENTLY OR TEMPORARILY TRANSFERRED OFF THE CENTRAL ELECTRONIC DATA SYSTEM (MEMORY STICKS, PORTABLE COMPUTERS ETC.) FOR ANY REASON.
- Staff will not inadvertently disclose information by talking about or to patients where conversations may be overheard. Reception staff will not reveal patient’s names when talking on the telephone.
- Appointments and other information sent by post will be in sealed envelopes marked ‘Private and Confidential’
- Patients have right of access to their records. A request from a patient to see their records should be referred to their dentist who will arrange for the patient to come to the practice, with suitable identification, to view any records or information held about them. Patients wishing a copy of their records should make the request in writing and pay a fee of £25. A copy will be provided within 14 days of the fee being received.
- If, after an appropriate investigation, a member of staff is found to have breached patient confidentiality or this policy, they shall be liable to summary dismissal in accordance with the practice disciplinary policy.
- It is an offence under section 55(1) of the Data Protection Act 1998’ knowingly or recklessly, without the consent of the dentist or patient, to OBTAIN OR disclose personal data. If the practice suspects that this offence has been committed, it will contact the Office of the Information Commissioner and you may be prosecuted by the Commissioner or by or with the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Breaches of confidence and inappropriate use of records or computer systems are serious matters which could result in disciplinary proceedings, dismissal and possibly legal prosecution
- It is therefore the duty of every individual to ensure that no person:
- Puts personal information at risk of unauthorised access;
- Knowingly misuses any personal information or allow others to do so;
- Accesses records or information for which they have no legitimate reason, including records or information about family, friends, neighbours and acquaintances.
- All team members must comply with guidelines which set out procedures to keep personal information protected:
- Record keeping and Record management procedures;
- Appropriate use of computer systems (Access control procedure);
- Secure use of personal information (Information handling procedures);
- Reporting information incidents (Incident management procedure);
- Use of mobile computing and data storage devices.
- North Street Dental Practice will ensure that patients are adequately informed about the use and disclosure of their personal information in the PIL. This states why, how and for what purpose personal information is collected, recorded and used in the practice. Team members will be familiar with the patient information material and will seek advice from the Information Governance lead J. Aukett if patients have questions which they are unable to answer.
- Although the Data Protection Act 1998 is only relevant to the personal information of living individuals, this code also covers information about deceased persons. The code applies to all staff including permanent, temporary, and locum members of staff.
North Street Dental Practice recognises that Information is a vital asset, both in terms of the clinical management of individual patients and the efficient management of services and resources. It plays a key part in clinical governance, service planning and performance management. It is therefore of paramount importance that information is efficiently managed, and that appropriate policies, procedures, management accountability and structures provide a robust governance framework for information management.
Purpose of the Policy
This Information Governance policy provides an overview of the practice’s approach to information governance; a guide to the procedures in use; and details about the IG management structures within the dental practice.
The practice’s approach to Information Governance
North Street Dental Practice undertakes to implement information governance effectively and will ensure the following outcomes:
- Information will be protected against unauthorised access;
- Confidentiality of information will be assured;
- Integrity of information will be maintained;
- Information will be supported by the highest quality data;
- Regulatory and legislative requirements will be met;
- Business continuity plans will be produced, maintained and tested;
- Information governance training will be available to all staff as necessary to their role;
- All breaches of confidentiality and information security, actual or suspected, will be reported and investigated.
Procedures in use in the practice
These outcomes will be achieved by the following procedures:
- Records management procedure that set outs how patient dental records will be created, used, stored and disposed of;
- Access control procedure that sets out procedures for the management of access to computer-based information systems;
- Information handling procedure that sets out procedures around the transfer of confidential information;
- Incident management procedure that sets out the procedures for managing and reporting information incidents;
- Business continuity plan that sets out the procedures in the event of a security failure or disaster affecting computer systems
Staff guidance in use in the practice
Staff compliance with the procedures is supported by the following guidance material:
- Records management: guidelines on good record keeping;
- Staff confidentiality code of conduct: sets out the required standards to maintain the confidentiality of patient information; obligations around the disclosure of information and appropriately obtaining patient consent;
- Access control: guidelines on the appropriate use of computer systems;
- Information handling: guidelines on the secure use of patient information;
- Using mobile computing devices: guidelines on maintaining confidentiality and security when working with portable or removable computer equipment;
- Information incidents: guidelines on identifying and reporting information incidents.
Responsibilities and accountabilities
The designated Information Governance lead for the practice is J.W. Aukett
The key responsibilities of the lead are:
- Developing and implementing IG procedures and processes for the practice;
- Raising awareness and providing advice and guidelines about IG to all staff;
- Ensuring that any training made available is taken up;
- Coordinating the activities of any other practice staff given data protection, confidentiality, information quality, records management and Freedom of Information responsibilities;
- Ensuring that patient data is kept secure and that all data flows, internal and external are periodically checked against the Caldicott Principles;
- Monitoring information handling in the practice to ensure compliance with law, guidance and practice procedures;
- Ensuring patients are appropriately informed about the practice’s information handling activities.
The day to day responsibilities for providing guidance to staff will be undertaken by J.W. Aukett
The partners of the practice are responsible for ensuring that sufficient resources are provided to support the effective implementation of IG in order to ensure compliance with the law, professional codes of conduct and the NHS information governance assurance framework.
All staff, whether permanent, temporary or contracted, and contractors are responsible for ensuring that they are aware of and comply with the requirements of this policy and the procedures and guidelines produced to support it.
A full copy of all required procedures will be held in the main office for easy accessible reference. Signed statements of conformance by staff will be available for inspection
This policy has been approved by the partners and will be reviewed on an annual basis.
This practice is committed to providing patients with the best care possible, and in sharing the planning of that care with the patient. We will strive to ensure that opportunities for care are appropriately planned and executed.
We will pursue this by adhering to the following principles:
- Patients will be given the opportunity to express their preferred modes of care at North Street Dental Practice.
- All patients will be given a written copy of the agreed treatment plan where the care plan involves prolonged or complicated treatment. A copy signed by the patient will be retained by the practice.
- The care plan will include best estimates of costs involved.
- All treatments proposed will be explained by the dentist and supported by appropriate literature, models, and examples. Alternative options will be discussed.
- Patients will be given the opportunity and time to consider any treatment proposed. Patients will be supported in any search for relevant information.
- If the treatment plan is changed for any reason, a new plan will be prepared and given to the patient. A signed copy of the new plan will be retained by the dentist.
- All staff will be made aware of this policy as part of an annual training programme.
- This policy and note of procedures has been agreed by all partner dentists. All associate and other dentists working under the guise of NSDP will adhere to the principles stated herein.