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Data Protection Essays

The Data protection act (1984) states that that the person(s) holding data or information will not disclose it except for the purpose that it was originally intended, and then only in accordance with the best data protection act practices.
The data protection act (1988) is a very important piece of legislation when working within the care sector, and is one that we work within at my place of work and the organization in general.
My place of work is one of four homes within a charitable organization founded in 1977. And is a home for young adults with learning difficulties and some challenging behaviors. With the purpose of helping service users become independent.
N,V,Q 3 Health and social care: Dated 13/11/05:
Unit HSC 31. Promote effective communication for and about individuals.
Data protection policy.
Data protection practices, policies and procedures.
There are eight principles of good practice in the data protection act, which say that the data must be:
1) Fairly and lawfully processed.
2) Processed for limited purposes.
3) Adequate, relevant and not excessive.
4) Accurate and up to date.
5) Not kept longer than necessary.
6) Processed in accordance with individuals rights.
7) Secure
8) Not transferred to countries outside the European Economic Community, unless that country has adequate protection for the individual.
The above is referenced from the book Care S/NVQ level 3 Author Yvonne Nolan printed by Heinemann Candidate Handbook 2001.
I feel that our organizational practices adhere to the Data protection Act on all eight principles of good practice. We have a policy that all records and data are stored in files, all files are locked securely in the office therefore the only people who have access to the Service users confidential files are members of the staff team at my place of work; Any Service user who wishes to view their file(s) may do so, with a member of staff available on hand to answer questions the individual may raise and to ensure that only information relevant to the individual service user may be viewed.
Some of the documentation kept is also stored on a computer or disc and protected by passwords as to ensure that the information is only accessed by the person(s) it is intended for. Although a day book is kept and updated twice daily, in which pertinent information regarding the service users is entered, these books conform to the policies and procedures of the organization in respect to the Data protection act. At no point is personal information about any individual entered into the day book.
Should we need to communicate important information, we refer the reader to the relevant medical, financial and/or personal files kept elsewhere securely. Again, access to these records are only provided if it is appropriate and or relevant for the person to view such information.
N,V,Q 3 Health and social care: Dated 13/11/05:
Unit HSC 31. Promote effective communication for and about individuals.
Data protection policy.
Any information we keep will be relevant to the care we provide and the issues that arise to the proper provision of care. This also includes the updating of records such as financial, medical, appointment dates, care plans, training and educational notes, risk assessments for individual and the general day to day care.
To maintain the service users needs properly it is vital to update care plans and risk assessments and other records using the appropriate methods and ensuring they are stored with regard to the persons confidentiality. It is important to update records on a regular basis recording all relevant data and filing it securely to prevent the wrong person(s) having assess to it. Informing your superiors of any data is important and if any data appears to have been inappropriately interfered with.
Any disagreements or conflicts should also be recorded and must be accurate without any bias or personal opinions. Should this happen at my place of work the most senior person investigates, records and reports this to the relevant authorities such as in the form of a regulation 37, this is sent to CSCI and the service-user’s social worker. Incident report forms are also used but remain within the home, filed and stored securely. The use of POVA – protection of vulnerable adults is used at my place of work to protect vital information that involves service users that may need to be investigated. It is important that they know any data is kept confidentiality and that they can report things safely without being wrongly judged or in fear.
I personally involve my key-client in updating and maintaining records as this person is able to understand most aspects of their care.
I personally have no difficulties in assessing records or information that I require to carry out my duties, however, should I find any problems in doing this I would report it in confidence to the most senior staff member. I am rightly, not able to assess any data or records that do not concern me as these are locked in filing cabinets with only the person whom requires such documentation having necessary assess.
I hold the position of health and safety representative for my company and therefore carry out inductions and other vital recording within the home. I ensure that the relevant policies and procedures and other records such as the safety data sheets are assessable to all staff, whilst ensuring personal training records are not assessable to unauthorized persons.
N,V,Q 3 Health and social care: Dated 13/11/05:
Unit HSC 31. Promote effective communication for and about individuals.
Data protection policy.
Medical records
All members of the staffing team at my place of work have access to the medical records of the service users and we have in depth records on each service user, these records are vital to ensure we provide accurate care for each individual. These records are locked in the office to which only staff members have access, the only person(s) that may gain access to these records must have legitimate reasons to do so, based on the purpose for which they are intended. Medical records are updated as and when the need arises, and as with other records are stored for seven years. Although documentation concerning persons that are under the age of 18 are stored for 25 years.
It must also be noted that any external professional seeking to examine any Service users’ records must receive prior consent from the individual of those whose records and files are to be viewed.
The access to health records Act states that only persons that have legitimate right to an individuals medical record, may have access to them. This may include any persons involved in the ongoing care of an individual. The administration of justice or legal proceedings or those that are required by law to provide information for employment purposes may warrant an appropriate person to view and inspect relevant records.
There is a potential problem concerning obtaining records on behalf of a person who has lost the mental capacity to give consent to the request, as, under the data protection act, the only person entitled to receive the information is the data subject, or a person acting on behalf of his/her consent e.g a solicitor. In these circumstances, it may be possible to argue that denying an incapacitated resident the right of access to records in these circumstances breaches his/her human rights under the human rights act. This argument can only be used, however, if the home in question is a ‘public authority’ within the meaning of the act. Reference The care homes legal handbook. Author Jeremy Cooper 2003.
N,V,Q 3 Health and social care: Dated 13/11/05:
Unit HSC 31. Promote effective communication for and about individuals.
Data protection policy.
Evaluation
I feel that the whole of the staffing team within the organization are profoundly professional, and work well in accordance to the Data protection Act. I personally have never seen any member of the team not to adhere to the act and that the policies and procedures put in place to protect the Service users rights of confidentiality are implemented to the highest standard.

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