Protecting confidential records

As a dental professional you are responsible for ensuring the security of all patient information. 

Under the Data Protection Act 1998 you have a legal duty to ensure personal data is held securely and protected from unauthorised or unlawful use. It is particularly important that you take steps to ensure the security of electronic information.  

GDC guidance

The GDC sets out the standards, conduct, performance an ethical aspects of confidentiality and information sharing in its publication Standards for the Dental Team (2013).

Our advice

  • Act professionally at all times.
  • Listen carefully to your patient’s grievances and show your concern.
  • Explain the findings of any investigation. Your patients may just want to understand what went wrong and be assured it won't happen again.
  • Consider offering remedial treatment free of charge, waiving or refunding your fees and/or offering an ex-gratia payment.
  • Contact your dental defence organisation. The DDU offers practical help to members, for example in drafting letters, and support in difficult times.
Both private and NHS patients can go directly to the GDC if they feel their complaint raises questions about a dental professional’s fitness to practise. They may also start legal proceedings for clinical negligence. In these cases, contact your dental defence organisation as soon as you become aware of the matter.

This guidance was correct at publication . It is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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