Confidentiality of patient information
The Directorate of Laboratory Medicine conforms
to the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS
Foundation Trust Confidentiality Code of Conduct and
Information Disclosure Policy ON4-3437 Central Manchester
University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
(CMFT) collects holds and processes personal data about many
individuals, including information about its employees, patients,
suppliers, clients and stakeholders.
The Trust is committed to handling all information efficiently,
securely, effectively and in accordance with relevant legislation
in order to deliver the best possible healthcare and services.
The Trust ensures that all staff are aware of their
responsibility for patient confidentiality through annual mandatory
training. There are several overarching policies on confidentiality
and data protection. The Trust has an informatics department which
oversees the handling of patients' records, supports the
Information Technology (IT) systems and ensures the security and
confidentiality of information.
The Trust information charter can be found on StaffNet (the
Trust's intranet) and the Directorate of Laboratory Medicine notes
- We only ask for information that we need to allow
interpretation of results
- We protect the information and ensure only those staff who need
to see the information can access it
- We share the information only when we need to for patient care.
For example, sending the information to another laboratory for
- We don't store information for any longer than is absolutely
Sending information to other laboratories
While several hundred laboratory tests are performed within the
CMFT, for some rare or complex tests patient specimens may be sent
to specialist laboratories elsewhere which have the necessary
expertise. In some cases there will be only one specialist
laboratory in the whole country which performs a particular test,
meaning using referral laboratories is essential.
There is a detailed policy in place to govern how we choose
these referral laboratories. Referral laboratories are selected for
their expertise and their quality standards. We regularly check
their accreditation status, which gives us assurance that they have
procedures in place for the protection of information.
We also have specialist laboratories within the DLM and we
receive specimens from around the country. Therefore our
laboratories have procedures in place for the protection of
information not just from the patients from our area but all
patients from around the country.
When specimens are sent to a referral laboratory we need to send
some 'patient identifiers' such as name and date of birth. In some
tests it is essential to send further information, for example,
symptoms or travel information, to allow the referral laboratory to
interpret the results for our individual patient. In some tests
ethnic origin and family details may need to be shared with the
Consent to a specimen being taken and analysed is given by the
patient presenting at the point of specimen collection. The
responsibility for obtaining informed consent for the test(s)
resides with the medical staff ordering the test. Informed consent
should cover all the tests being undertaken, implications of the
results of these tests and the disclosure of clinical and personal
details to appropriate health care personnel.