Consent, confidentiality and the sharing of information, both between agencies and with families and carers, is one of the most complex yet vitally important aspects of mental healthcare. Best practice in this area will not only produce better outcomes but may also avert serious incidents and tragedy.
Guidance for Practitioners
The Zero Suicide Alliance have produced new ‘SHARE’ guidance to support practitioners in mental healthcare and suicide prevention, to ensure practitioners are aware of both the importance of sharing information and the legal and ethical justifications for doing so.
- Seek consent to share information
- Have regard to the law, rules and regulations
- Always act in the patients’ best interests
- Record all discussions and activities
- Ensure service user confidentiality is respected
The guidance includes a range of clinical situations and advice about when it is and is not appropriate to share information. These real-life scenarios are incredibly useful in initiating conversations and developing best practice in relation to sharing confidential information.