Standards for optometrists and dispensing opticians

14. Maintain confidentiality and respect your patients’ privacy

  1. Keep confidential all information about patients in compliance with the law, including information which is handwritten, digital, visual, audio or retained in your memory.
  2. Ensure that all staff you employ or are responsible for, are aware of their obligations in relation to maintaining confidentiality.
  3. Maintain confidentiality when communicating publicly, including speaking to or writing in the media, or writing online including on social media.
  4. Co-operate with formal inquiries and investigations and provide all relevant information that is requested in line with your obligations to patient confidentiality.
  5. Provide an appropriate level of privacy for your patients during consultation to ensure that the process of information gathering, examination and treatment remains confidential. Different patients will require different levels of privacy and their preferences must be taken into account.
  6. Only use the patient information you collect for the purposes it was given, or where you are required to share it by law.
  7. Securely store and protect your patient records to prevent loss, theft and inappropriate disclosure, in accordance with data protection law. If you are an employee, then this would be in accordance with your employer’s storage policy.
  8. Confidentially dispose of patient records when no longer required in line with data protection requirements.