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HCPC publishes revised guidance on confidentiality

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) has published revised guidance on confidentiality to provide advice for registrants about some of the issues relating to how they handle and share information about service users.

The existing guidance was extensively reviewed in 2016 by considering legal advice on changes to legislation; making amendments in line with the revised Standards of conduct, performance and ethics and undertaking a public consultation.

The review found that, although the requirements were generally considered to be working well, there was a need for further guidance in areas.

One of the main changes was a clarified definition of ‘consent’ by a service user to the use or disclosure of confidential information – in that it must be voluntary, informed and given by an individual with the capacity to make the decision.

Strengthened references to guidance from other organisations such as professional bodies has also been added, as well as guidance on a small number of topics which we often receive queries about such as electronic records and sharing information about children and young people.

HCPC Director of Policy and Standards Michael Guthrie commented: “The Guidance on confidentiality is a key piece of guidance for registrants. The feedback we’ve had from stakeholders has been immensely helpful in making sure the new guidance supports registrants navigate a difficult area.”

Confidentiality guidance for registrants was first published in February 2008. The guidance does not cover every situation where problems or challenges relating to confidentiality might come up, but does summarise some of the most important issues and provides key principles which registrants should think about and apply in their practice.

To download a copy of the revised Guidance on confidentiality visit

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