Data Protection and Privacy
This page answers frequently asked questions about data protection and privacy and the terms and conditions of therapy.
All new clients will be provided with a copy of this information in hard copy at the first consultation and will be asked to sign a data protection consent form confirming they have read and understood it.
My complete Information Governance Framework document is downloadable here. Should you wish to be provided with a hard copy of this document please let me know.
What is the General Data Protection Regulations, 2018 (GDPR) and how does it affect me?
The GDPR replaces the 1998 Data Protection Act to ensure your personal and sensitive, confidential data is kept private and held securely, being processed in the way that you have agreed to. It is there to protect your rights as a consumer of a service or product that might involve your identifiable data, e.g. your name and address or whether you have a specific condition. It also covers any session records, text messages or emails we exchange. For more information you can read my full Information Governance Policy document which is available to download from my website. If you would like a hard copy of this document please request one.
How long will you hold my information for?
I am regulated by the APHP, an organisation that stipulates I must hold your data for 7 years after your final session. Unless you are a child, in which case I must hold your data until your 25th birthday, unless you are 17 when treatment ends and then I must keep it until your 26th birthday. Therefore, all records will be deleted in the January after the above retention scales. This is in line with NHS regulations for holding data.
What if I don’t want my records to be held for that long?
Under the GDPR you can make a request in writing to me, for all your records to be deleted. In this case all your paper records would be shredded with a cross shredding machine and any electronic data such as emails or text messages would be permanently deleted from the devices they are stored on. I would have to save the request for deletion you made but would not save any other data. In some circumstances my insurance companies legal team may want to verify information I send out.
Why do you need to record this information?
I collect information about; why you are using the service, a small amount of medical information and a small amount of information about your important others, alongside brief session notes. This information enables me to provide a high quality service to you, ensuring I am equipped with the knowledge of our previous discussions prior to each session. Your contact details / address and Doctors details will only be used with your explicit consent. All clients will be asked to sign a consent form.
What lengths are made to ensure my information is held securely?
Hardcopy documents – Are all stored in a locked cabinet in a locked room. Text messages – My mobile phone is secured with a pin code. Emails – My email account requires a user name and password.
Electronic documents – I use a third party practice management system (Cliniko) to manage my appointments diary, store client contact data, record payments made, and maintain brief summaries of therapy sessions in electronic form. Cliniko is GDPR compliant and access is via username and password known only to me. I do not store any client specific information on my PC apart from emails and documents stored on Cliniko.
Is what we discuss kept confidential?
Everything we talk about during our sessions are strictly confidential between you and me. To ensure I am doing my job effectively and that I have the right support, I may discuss elements of our sessions with my supervisor. During these discussions I do not disclose any details that may identify you to my supervisor, and my supervisor also adheres to the GDPR.
What if I see you outside of the session?
If we see each other outside of a session I will acknowledge you but will not engage in any further conversation regarding your wellbeing or therapy to ensure your confidentiality. You are welcome to share with other people about the therapy you are receiving, but I am obligated by GDPR law to ensure your confidentiality is protected. I would request that in order to ensure the success of your treatment, that you refrain from discussing your treatment with me outside of your sessions.
What about other Health and Social Care Professionals?
As I adhere to the GDPR any contact, relating to you, with other health care professionals would only be made with your signed consent or the consent of your parent if you are under 18. E.g. If I were to write to your GP to notify them of your treatment with me, I would only do this if you were to sign the specific consent for this.
In order to safeguard you and the people around you, if you were to disclose that you were going to carry out harm to yourself or someone else, then under my “Duty of Care” I am obligated by law to inform the relevant authorities. This is to support you to live well, and I would always aim to discuss this with you prior to contacting anyone. If I was issued with a police warrant or court order for your information, by law I would also have to provide them with your information.
Will you keep in touch with me after completion of therapy?
Following a course of therapy and with your consent I may keep in touch with you periodically via email for a period of up to 12 months to see how you are and to seek feedback on my services. If you no longer wish me to do this please let me know via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition I may send email newsletters containing details of any news or special offers I think you may be interested in. You have the ability to unsubscribe from these emails at any time.