http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/story.asp?s ... 24117&c=2#
How ContactPoint and information sharing will help support children
26 Oct 09
GP Dr David Jones, a member of the Department for Children, Schools and Families' Information Sharing Advisory Group, explains why practices may need to share information with schools, social workers and youth workers.
As a GP it is essential to keep patient case information private, in line with the legal and ethical requirements of confidentiality, and not to disclose information without patient consent. As a result, many GPs feel that information sharing is an area that does not fit comfortably with their professional obligations.
However, ensuring the best outcomes for children – whether that relates to health, social or educational issues – often means that GPs may need to share relevant information with schools, social workers, youth workers or youth justice departments.
Information sharing and collaborative working enables a more complete picture of a person’s needs, which allows for earlier and more effective intervention. This in turn leads to faster and more coordinated delivery of services, which can improve the care provided to children and young people.
In the medium to long term, this may also help reduce the demands made of GPs by ensuring health issues are dealt with early. It has therefore never been more important to understand the principles behind sharing information while continuing to maintain patient confidentiality. To assist GP’s and other practitioners in this, the Government has issued guidance (Information Sharing: Guidance for practitioners and managers) which offers clarity on when and how information can be shared legally and professionally.