Good Psychiatric Practice: Confidentiality and Information Sharing (2nd edition) (CR209 Nov 2017)

Since these guidelines were last issued in 2006, there have been a number of changes in health service organisation, clinical practice and public expectations, as well as a general trend towards augmenting the duty to disclose and to reducing professional privilege.

Particular consideration has been given in this Report to the special issues surrounding the sensitivity of mental health information, the impact of changes in health service organisation, developments within practice (e.g. multidisciplinary and multi-agency working) and the impact of new technologies (e.g. electronic communication and computerised information systems).


The Report sets out a range of advice based on the following themes:

  • Direct patient care
  • Healthcare purposes outside direct patient care (secondary uses)
  • Uses and disclosure for non-healthcare purposes
  • Requests for information
  • Requests for reports
  • Vulnerable patients
  • Children and young people
  • Media, audio and video recording
  • Protection and security of patient information

It also provides advice and practical support in the areas of:

  • Legal framework
  • Scenarios
  • Audit
  • Department of Health definition of ‘serious crime’
  • Issues relating to patients who are vulnerable or lack capacity
  • Security of patient information
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