Disclosing confidential information about patients (including where patients may not be fit to drive): draft guidance for GOC registrants

Closes 13 Jun 2019

Opened 21 Mar 2019

Overview

Some registrants and members of the public have requested more clarity about when to disclose confidential information in the public interest. We have therefore developed draft guidance on disclosing confidential information which covers the following:

  1. General principles of disclosing confidential information, with or without consent
  2. What to do when a patient may not be fit to drive as a result of their vision
  3. Other disclosures in the public interest
  4. Disclosing information in compliance with investigations

We are interested in hearing registrants' and other stakeholders' views on the draft guidance and its potential impact. 

Below is a summary of recent research we have undertaken showing that, in particular, registrants are not confident in what to do if a patient's vision means they may not be fit to drive (the full research report can be downloaded from the 'Related' box at the bottom of this page):

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NB: If you are a stakeholder body or organisation, and are not able to respond to the online survey, you can find a PDF copy of the consultation questions in the 'Related' box at the bottom of this page, along with a copy of the draft guidance.

Why We Are Consulting

Our purpose is to protect the public. It is therefore vital that patients and the public have a strong input into our work to give us a viewpoint from the people that the GOC is in place to protect.

We focus on the evidence and reasoning given in consultation responses, making primarily qualitative analysis of the responses. Decisions are never made on strength of numbers. Our decisions are made on the basis of the strength of the arguments put to us and how well they match with our core principles.

We will publish feedback after the consultation giving the outcome and how we will implement the policy changes.

Privacy Statement

The information you provide to us, the GOC (as data controller), will be processed and used in line with our statutory purpose under the Opticians Act as a public task in order to set standards for optical education and training, performance and conduct. For more information regarding how we process your data please see the full privacy statement on our website. 

Right to Erasure

Article 17 of the General Data Protection Regulations provides data with the right to erasure; this is known as the right to be forgotten. Right to erasure requests should be sent to the Data Protection Officer (FOI@optical.org) and will be responded to within one calendar month of receipt. 

Data Controller

We are registered as a data controller with the Information Commissoner's Office, registration number Z5718812. We are committed to maintaining robust information governance policies and processes to ensure compliance with relevant legislation. Any information you supply will be stored and processed by us or on our behalf, by approved and verified third parties, in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations and Data Protection Act 2018.

Give us your views