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Confidentiality Policy


Compliance with this policy is a condition of employment of all staff

At Teckkam Dental Care, the need for the strict confidentiality of personal information is taken very seriously. This document sets out our policy for maintaining confidentiality and all members of the practice team must comply with these safeguards as part of their contract of employment for the services with the practice.

The Importance of Confidentiality

The relationship between dentist and patient, is based on the understanding that any information revealed by the patient to the dentist will not be divulged without the patient’s consent.  Patients have the right to privacy and it is vital that they give the dentist full information on their state of health to ensure that treatment is carried out safely.  The personal nature of health information means that many patients would be reluctant to provide the dentist with information if they were not sure that it would not be passed on.  If an unlawful disclosure is made, the patient could bring a legal action for breaching the Data Protection Act 2018; not only against the practice, but also against the individual responsible for the breach.  An investigation by the General Dental Council could result in erasure from the dental register.

 The General Dental Council states:

All Staff must follow the General Dental Council’s rules for maintaining patient confidentiality.  

‘The dentist/patient relationship is founded on trust and a dentist should not disclose to a third party information about a patient acquired in a professional capacity without the permission of the patient.  To do so may lead to a charge of serious professional misconduct.  A dentist should be aware that the duty of confidentiality extends to other members of the dental team.  There may, however, be circumstances in which the public interest outweighs a dentist’s duty of confidentiality and in which disclosure would be justified.  Communications with patients should not compromise confidentiality.  In the interests of security and confidentiality, for example, it is advisable that all postal communications to patients are sent in sealed envelopes.’

What is Personal Information?

In a dental context, personal information held by a dentist about a patient includes:

  • The patient’s name, current and previous address, bank account/credit card details, telephone number/e-mail address and other means of personal identification such as his/her physical description
  • Information that the individual is or has been a patient of the practice or attended, cancelled or failed to attend an appointment on a certain day
  • Information concerning the patient’s physical, mental or oral health or condition
  • Information about the treatment that is planned, is being or has been provided
  • Information about family members and personal circumstances supplied by the patient or others
  • The amount that was paid for treatment, the amount owing or the fact that a patient is a debtor to the practice 

Principles of Confidentiality

The Practice has adopted the following principles of confidentiality:

  • Records should be kept secure and in a location that prevents other individuals accessing them
  • Details of names, addresses, telephone numbers, attendance or financial records, treatment histories or plans, medical history or information about other family members should not be divulged
  • When talking to a patient on the telephone or in a public area, care should be taken to ensure that sensitive information is not overheard by other patients
  • Messages regarding patient care should not be left on answering machines. A message to call the practice is all that can be left
  • Disclosure of appointment book information should not be made to third parties without first referring to Alexander Teckkam or Diane Brown
  • Discussions being conducted within hearing of any patient should be on strictly professional matter, never discussing a patient by name
  • Conversations on non-professional matters should be reserved for the staff room
  • Any member of staff who breaks these rules will be liable for summary dismissal
  • Personal information about a patient is confidential in respect of that patient and to those providing the patient with health care
  • Personal information should only be disclosed those who would be unable to provide effective care and treatment without that information (the need to know concept)
  • Such information should not be disclosed to third parties without the consent of the patient except in certain specific circumstances described in this policy
  • All data processed at this practice must remain confidential even if your employment has terminated (it is an offence under General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018, to disclose such information)

Disclosure to Third Parties

There are certain circumstances in which a dentist may decide to disclose information to a third party or may be required to disclose by law.  Responsibility for the disclosure rests with the patient’s dentist and under no circumstances can any other member of staff make a decision to disclose.  Where a decision has been made to disclose personal information, an attempt should be made to obtain the patient’s permission for the information to be released or where appropriate to encourage the patient to release the information themselves.  Failing this, it is advisable to contact the BDA or your defence organisation before acting.  A brief summary of the circumstances is given below.

When Disclosure can be made

  • Where expressly the patient has given consent to the disclosure
  • Where disclosure is necessary for the purpose of enabling someone else to provide healthcare to the patient and the patient has consented to this sharing of information
  • Where disclosure is necessary to safeguard the individual, or others, or is in the public interest
  • Where disclosure is required by statute or is ordered by a court of law
  • Where disclosure is necessary for the dentist to pursue a bonafide legal claim against a patient, when disclosure to a solicitor, court or debt collecting agency may be necessary
  • CQC have the legal right to have access to our patient records but if possible these should be anonymised or an attempt to get consent should be made

Before releasing any confidential information in the public interest, you must be prepared to explain and justify the decision and any action taken.  A Court Order can order patient information to be released without consent. In such circumstances, only the minimum information should be released to follow the order.

Disclosure of information necessary in order to provide care and for the functioning of the NHS

Information may need to be disclosed to third party organisations to ensure the provision of care and the proper functioning of the NHS.  In practical terms, this type of disclosure means

  • Referral of the patient to another dentist or health care provider such as the hospital

Disclosing Patient Information

If the patient consents to their information being disclosed:

  • An explanation must be provided about the circumstances in which the information about them might be shared
  • The patient must be provided with the opportunity to withhold permission for disclosure of the information
  • The patient must understand what will be released, the reasons for releasing it and the likely consequences of releasing the information
  • The person with whom the information is shared must understand that the information is confidential

Data Protection Policy Statement

  1. General

The practice collects, holds, processes and shares personal data in accordance with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018. We have carried out and will review as appropriate, a Data Audit. 

This Policy applies to personal data in the following categories:

  • Patients’ Records, both current and past
  • Employees’ data
  • Contractors’ data – including dental registrants
  1. Data Protection Principles

We shall ensure that Personal Data, including Special Data (health) will be:

  • Processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner
  • Collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes only
  • Adequate, relevant and necessary for the purpose
  • Accurate and updated
  • Kept for no longer than is necessary
  • Processed in a secure manner and protected against loss, destruction or damage
  1. Lawful Basis

Data will be held and processed under the following Lawful Basis:

  • Patient Data and health records: for the Legitimate Interests of the practice in providing health care and treatment
  • Employment records: as a Legal Obligation for the provision of Employment Terms and conditions and supply of data to HM Revenue and Customs and other statutory functions such as pensions and benefits
  • Contractor Data: for the fulfilment of contracts

We will additionally secure the specific consent of patients for the provision of electronic communication under the Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations 2011

  1. Data Subjects’ Rights

We will ensure that the rights of Data Subjects are respected and maintained by:

  • The issue and promotion of a Privacy Notice detailing data processed, its origin and any disclosures, the Lawful Bases for processing, and the rights of Data Subjects
  • The maintenance of a Subject Access process and the appointment of Diane Brown as Data Protection Lead to oversee that process and to advise on compliance
  • A legitimate interest assessment ensuring individuals’ rights are balanced with the legitimate needs of the practice.
  • A Data Retention schedule
  • An Information Security policy
  • A Data Breach Policy
  • Contractual assurance of adequate safeguards if data is processed outside the European Union
  1. Subject Access Requests

All data subjects may submit a request to be informed of the data we hold about them, its lawful basis and from whom it is/was obtained and to whom it may be disclosed.  We will provide this information without charge and as soon as is reasonably possible and in any event within one month of a valid request being received.  Access requests should be addressed (or forwarded without delay) to Diane Brown..

  1. Training and Compliance

We will ensure that all staff are aware of their duty of strict confidentiality regarding personal data, both professional and under the Data Protection law.  We will provide training and assure compliance and will review and refresh training on a regular basis. 

It is a condition of continuing employment that all staff are aware of, sign their acceptance of, and comply with, their obligations under this Policy. Any queries or concerns must be immediately addressed to Diane Brown. A breach of this Policy may amount to misconduct and result in disciplinary action. Serious or persistent breaches may result in dismissal.

  1. Security of Data

The practice will publish and maintain an Information Security policy to assure against any loss, damage, unlawful disclosure or non-compliant erasure of data. All staff will be trained and advised of their obligations under this Policy.

Social Media

This applies to all employees who create or contribute to social media, including but not limited to social networks, blogs, wikis and online forums.

It is important to remember what you do online is ultimately linked to your personal life, your professional reputation, and the reputation of Teckkam Dental Care Ltd.

Below are Teckkam Dental Care Ltd guidelines for personal and business use of social media.

Personal Use 

  • Teckkam Dental Care Ltd respects an employee’s right to participate in social media for personal reasons during non-work hours.
  • All employees are expected to be professional when participating in social media and online commentary.
  • Any content posted on online forums, should comply with our practice’s confidentiality protocols, Data Protection Acts and GDC guidelines. Do not refer or discuss patients on any online forum, even if a patient is not mentioned by name, they may still be identified through the nature of the discussion.
  • Any work-related comments should be meaningful, respectful and relevant in a way that protects the practice’s image and reputation and reflects positively on colleagues.
  • Your actions captured via images, posts or comments may be considered by some as a reflection on our practice, regardless of whether or not it occurs during work hours.
  • Ask your colleagues permission to post any images of them taken on social events.
  • To avoid any potential conflicts of interest, employees of Teckkam Dental Care Ltd are not to accept any patients as ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ on their social networking sites. Employees are to direct and encourage patients to join the practice’s social networking sites instead.

Business Use

 We will monitor our social media sites regularly to ensure that we engage with our audience and to monitor content.

Contributions Must

  • Be accurate (where they state facts).
  • Be genuinely held (where they state opinions).
  • Comply with applicable law in the United Kingdom and any country from which it is posted.
  • Conform to the GDC’s guidance and that of the Advertising Standards Authority; they must be legal, decent, honest and truthful.
  • Reflect a caring and competent approach.
  • Comply with the terms, conditions and policies belonging to specific social networks and respect copyright laws and reference or cite sources appropriately.
  • Comply with our practice’s confidentiality protocols, Data Protection Acts and GDC guidelines.

Contributions Must NOT be:

  • Regarded as misleading or unsubstantiated.
  • Be defamatory, unlawful, obscene, offensive, hateful, abusive or inflammatory.
  • Discriminate for any reason, such as race, sex or religion; be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, or alarm any other person.
  • Contain an instruction, advice, or content that could cause harm or injury to individuals or to computers or systems.
  • Give the impression that the contribution has been posted by Teckkam Dental Care Ltd if this is not the case.
  • Encourage anyone to commit any unlawful or criminal act or condone any unlawful or criminal act.
  • Contain any advertising.

 We reserve the right to remove or to disable access to any contribution which we deem to be in breach of our content standards.

In Addition…

  • Always gain consent from patients before posting their testimonial, photograph, video or mentioning them on our social network sites.
  • If a patient posts negative feedback regarding our practice this needs to be dealt with quickly showing a caring and responsible approach. Notify Alexander Teckkam or Helen Paton immediately.
  • If a patient posts a complaint follow our complaint handling procedures, notifying Alexander Teckkam or Helen Paton immediately.
  • If you disagree with another’s opinion or the situation is becoming antagonistic or controversial (for example political, religious debates), politely disengage from the dialogue and talk with Alexander Teckkam or Helen Paton immediately.


When we consider that a breach of our social media policy has occurred, we may take any action we deem appropriate including disciplinary proceedings.

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