Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, see our mental health web guide which can point you to expert advice.

Furious over a breech in confidentiality. Am i over reacting??

(21 Posts)
madeuplovesong44 Tue 13-May-14 18:48:10

A customer at work came in to my office today and asked for a word. He said he has bipolar and he has been told i have it too. I felt hugely uncomfortable as I have tried my hardest to remain entirely professional at work. I asked where he has heard this and one of the hca at the local psych hospital told him. He said he is looking for someone to talk to about his experiences. I wouldn't usually have a problem chatting with another service user but am just pissed off that someone has broken my confidentiality. I feel really embarrassed as all my colleagues heard this. Its not taking much to tip me over the edge at the mo and i cant handle this. Not sure if there is anything i can do or if i am overreacting?

You are not overreacting, what you are describing is very serious and very wrong and I'm furious for you.

If you feel up to it I think you should complain so that they can investigate.

No you're not over reacting at all, it sounds like a real invasion of your privacy.

There are lots of groups run by charities and mental health services the man could have been directed to, which is what a decent hcp would have done.

Hopefully your work colleagues will be respectful and more professional and don't make anything more difficult.

Perfectly good grounds for a complaint if you feel inclined.

Selks Tue 13-May-14 18:56:07

I'm an NHS professional and this, if it has happened, is a major breach of your privacy and personal information. Definitely complain, I would.

Canus Tue 13-May-14 18:56:25

You are seriously not overreacting.

Even if you don't know exactly which HCA was involved, you would be well within your rights to make a huge and very official fuss.

A HCA breaching confidentiality on that scale is extraordinary.

mamadoc Tue 13-May-14 18:57:18

No, absolutely not an over- reaction.

This is something no health professional should do. Not matter if they thought it would help him or you wouldn't mind or any reason whatsoever. You have a right to expect your private health info to always be kept private. This person should be disciplined.

Please make a formal complaint to the hospital. You should be able to find their PALS number on their website. You will be helping to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else.

kd73 Tue 13-May-14 19:03:02

Shocking breach, please complain x

SnowyMouse Tue 13-May-14 19:03:31

Definitely complain, that is unacceptable.

madeuplovesong44 Tue 13-May-14 19:06:08

Thanks for your replies. I feel really let down but as i am fairly open with my illness wasn't sure if i have the right to be pissed off. I told my cpn and she didn't seem bothered. She said its a shame the customer couldn't remember exactly who it was but that was all.

FiveGoMadInDorset Tue 13-May-14 19:08:24

Your CPN doesn't sound all that great either. Escalate a complaint as this is a serious breech.

BunnyPotter Tue 13-May-14 19:09:14

Thing is it's YOUR illness, therefore up to you to tell whoever, whenever. Please complain.

fluffybunnies246 Tue 13-May-14 19:33:23

I would go absolutely ballistic! That is awful. I'm sure the CPN would be bothered if she was in that situation. Even if they can't find out who did it, staff need to be reminded that there is absolutely no way that they can disclose info like that. They have breached the data protection act. If you decide that you feel up to complaining make sure you tell them exactly what happened (colleagues hearing) because this is definitely NOT ok. How awful for you. I hope that your colleagues are supportive

madeuplovesong44 Tue 13-May-14 19:42:03

I am the only woman in an office/yard of 16 men. I am lucky as they are all lovely to work with but i wouldn't say supportive. They looked shocked and uncomfortable today. The customer asked for my number so we could maybe support each other. I don't want to be a bitch and we need his business but i feel really uncomfortable with striking up a relationship on the basis that we have the same label.

SilverStars Tue 13-May-14 20:00:30

I am sorry you were made to feel uncomfortable. It is hard to be rational and think clearly at such a time but if I had been able to I would have:
Denied it
Asked him why he would believe what a hca said as if they are any good at their job they would remain professional
Refuse to give out personal details ( after all the hca would not give out their personal contact details to patients and there is no difference)
Tell him if he wants support to ask his medical team or seek charities online.

fluffybunnies246 Tue 13-May-14 20:01:45

I think it's absolutely unfathomable that someone at the hospital would presume that you would actually want to talk to this person anyway? That's the kind of thing that you definitely need to have agreed to volunteer for- not just have some random person approach you!! You are not being a bitch. Is there any chance that you can speak to the psych hospital and request they get in touch with him to explain the situation? I.e. this should not have happened and there should be no expectation that you two should be supporting each other. It's not the bloke's fault, obviously, but you should not have been put in this very difficult position. Really, it's not a great situation for him either, as he won't know that he is doing anything untoward. The hospital has really b*****d up they should be expected to help rectify the situation, and support you both whilst that is happening.

I hope things go ok with your work colleagues...have you got a (nice) manager, or anyone else, who is aware of your issues that you can talk to at work about this? As it might help to have someone supportive in the workplace. Hopefully your colleagues will be ok...it can be a shock finding out things like this about someone, but they'll realise that you are still the same person as you were yesterday.

I worked for social services, breach of confidentiality was taken extremely seriously. I had a friend who was suspended for a while simply for discussing a person she was assessing, with someone from another organisation working with that person, in a public place. What happened to you is a very serious breach.

Raskova Tue 13-May-14 20:12:22

I'm a bit lost. Did the hca at the hospital give contact address out too? How did they find you?

I have mental health issues (depression, anxiety, low self esteem) and I am very open about my illness, because I think that the more open we are about mental illness, the less of a stigma it will be.

BUT my openness and willingness to share is my choice, and I would be furious if that choice was taken away from me, if someone decided to share my issues without my consent.

You have every right to complain - this is an egregious breach of confidentiality, and I think you should raise it with the hospital treating you.

madeuplovesong44 Wed 14-May-14 23:37:06

They didn't give out my details, he is my customer so have known him a few years and see him on a daily basis. Its a smallish town so by his profession it would be obvious to the hca that he would know me.

I know it is selfish but i don't want the hassle of making a complaint. Being sectioned in that hospital has left me without a voice several times and made me feel worthless and a lesser person. Professionals up there, patients down there, them and us. I haven't got it in me to confront that. I'm sorry because i don't want it to happen again to anyone else. However without knowing who it was i don't think they will get anywhere with my complaint.

The customer has added me on Facebook and asked my boss to sit with me at a future business event. Have decided to just make the best of it and see if i can offer him any advice.

Canus Thu 15-May-14 06:23:22

I understand that you don't feel able to complain, but whatever you do, you need to distance yourself as much as possible from this man.

His behaviour is ringing alarm bells that you may be blinded to because of the HCA issue.

Contacting you at work, not even dicreetly, adding you on Facebook, making demands of your boss - that sort of thing is really quite inappropriate.

It's fine to say that you are not in a position to support him, or that you don't feel like having dicussions of that sort right now.

If he makes a fuss at work and threatens to withdraw his business on the strength of you not 'playing along', he will look terrible unprofessional.

KenDoddsDadsDog Thu 15-May-14 06:26:28

Canus is right - his behaviour is really not right either. Have a chat with your boss, it's very unfair on you.

I agree with Canus and KenDodds - as someone with a mental health issue, I know that a lot of people want to keep their mental health issues private, and I have no right whatsoever to divulge their personal and private information.

For example - I was in group therapy for over 2 years. It turns out that another group member lives near me, and we bumped into eachother after we'd both left the group, and we now see eachother regularly. But if I am out and about with her, and meet up with another friend, even one who I know suffers from depression themselves, there is no way I would introduce her as 'Beryl* from my therapy group', because it isn't my decision to tell someone else her diagnosis, and would be completely inappropriate!!

What this man did was completely wrong - he had no right to reveal your diagnosis in front of your colleagues.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now