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Patient Confidentiality

(26 Posts)
Cutecat78 Tue 21-Jun-16 20:53:41

Was in the changing rooms at the gym earlier with my friend.

Saw a women there who I know vaguely. I know that she works at the NHS secure mental health unit - I don't know her through work but I work for the LA and my work involves working with clients and data protection etc.

While getting changed this lady and her friend proceed to have a very loud (moaning about work type) conversation about individuals clients at work (needing security/sectioning/restraint) using christian names but no surnames and scenarios which had I known the people I would know who they were talking about.

The women I didn't know was almost being quite boastful in a "look how important my job is everyone" way.

I was a bit shock about this and when my friend came out (she was not aware I knew this lady or what she did) she said "OMG that was a bit too much info, they clearly both work at X unit".

I am not being U - but do I just leave it or do I send an anonymous email suggesting they need to send a staff memo reminding them of client confidentiality.....?

Sassypants82 Tue 21-Jun-16 20:56:15

Yes - absolutely. Thats incredibly unprofessional. YANBU to be appalled.

Blueberry234 Tue 21-Jun-16 20:56:26

I would send an email not as a complaint but a reminder

Girliefriendlikesflowers Tue 21-Jun-16 20:56:48

Blimey that is pretty bad, yes send an email thats completely unacceptable.

x2boys Tue 21-Jun-16 20:59:53

I was ab RMN for yrs i have known people to be disciplined for this so i would let the unit know incredibly stupid and disrespectful thing to do .

RaeSkywalker Tue 21-Jun-16 21:02:12


Ginmakesitallok Tue 21-Jun-16 21:02:17

Sackable offence. I'd email.

3littlefrogs Tue 21-Jun-16 21:03:03

Definitely report it.
This is one reason why so many people are afraid to seek help, because so many people have access to information. Everyone who works in the NHS should take confidentiality very seriously.

Queenbean Tue 21-Jun-16 21:06:48

This happens all the time in my gym. Not with such sensitive cases but women from local offices gossip about what's going on at work all the time.

Firstly, it's very annoying to be trying to relax and listen to the stressed conversations about Anita in Accounts or whatever. And secondly, it is unbelievably unprofessional. Do people think that you're deaf just because you're not directly involved in their conversation?

Cutecat78 Tue 21-Jun-16 21:09:56

I don't want to be responsible some someone getting dismissed.

I do think they need reminding and maybe retraining/refreshing.

The thought of myself or one of my family's mental/general health being discussed down the local gym for all to hear is mortifying.

x2boys Tue 21-Jun-16 21:14:37

Well you wouldnt be responsible for someone getting dismissed the staff members have brought it on themselves however you dont need to name names just outline the situation as you described in an email to the unit and let them deal with it .

Registeringisapain Tue 21-Jun-16 21:15:54

Please report it to the unit. You will be helping the patients and their families, who get little enough support and understanding without the staff who are trusted to care for them bitching about them at the gym. If no one reports it the managers will not be aware and it will continue.

ZerenaZZ Tue 21-Jun-16 23:13:38

It's very important to report. Fear of everybody knowing and gossiping can stop people accessing mental health services. The results of that can be catastrophic.

ilovesooty Tue 21-Jun-16 23:17:44

Please report it. Why would you need to report it anonymously? It's appalling behaviour on their part.

BeBopTalulah Tue 21-Jun-16 23:22:06

It doesn't matter what details are shared - anything that could be identifiable in the situation is a breech of confidentiality. E.g even if she was talking about someone with a particular tattoo without mentioning the name, that could identify the person to others. It's one thing to vent to a friend in a manner that they would have NO idea who you were talking about, it's quite another to mouth off in a public place using identifiable information. That is awful.

Cutecat78 Tue 21-Jun-16 23:29:42

Anonymously because the reason I know the women vaguely is through school but also through DS step mum who also works at said unit so it's a bit awkward - sorry not drip feeding and there is no beef between us I just know they are friendly which is why I would do it anonymously.

I would never ever discuss my clients in public like this - which is why I was shocked.

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Tue 21-Jun-16 23:52:49

Anyone in a position of medical care has to sign the secrets act 1989 do they not.
So they're breaking that law. A law which must legally be followed. It's not a moral request. The fact that they were only using Christian names is neither here nor there.
Definitely report. Yes they will get in serious trouble but. The argument is. They should have thought of that.

shinynewusername Wed 22-Jun-16 00:43:38

Totally and utterly inappropriate. HCPs need to let off steam in private but doing it in public is completely wrong. Please report- they won't get sacked (unless they have done it repeatedly) but they should be disciplined,

DontDead0penlnside Wed 22-Jun-16 07:11:42

[Some of] My doctor's surgery receptionists are gossipy cowbags.

I was sat in the waiting room once (all wooden floors and echo-y) and I could clearly hear them bitching about an elderly chap who had just been in with some query. They were slagging him off by name.

When I went in to see the lovely nurse, I explained what I had heard. Her face was thunder and I know Words Will Have Been Had after I left.

So yes, report it. You don't have to say you know the woman, but you were able to identify where they worked just from their unprofessional gossiping.

snowgirl29 Wed 22-Jun-16 07:17:11

YNBU - yes report it via email.

TestingTestingWonTooFree Wed 22-Jun-16 07:26:39

Yes I'd report it.

PeaceOfWildThings Wed 22-Jun-16 07:26:57

Please report them! My DD is currently in a MH unit, I'd be shocked if I'd overheard about her, or fellow residents, at a local gym, and it would destroy our trust in the care the unit provides (don't think anyone there would do that, they are all professional and lovely).

YellowDinosaur Wed 22-Jun-16 08:29:40

Yanbu and should definitely report.

*Anyone in a position of medical care has to sign the secrets act 1989 do they not.
So they're breaking that law. A law which must legally be followed*

^this though is total and utter bollocks hmm. Health care professionals have a duty to maintain patient confidentiality, and breaching it can, quite rightly, be a sackable offence. It's not illegal though.

RevoltingPeasant Wed 22-Jun-16 09:47:59

OP I would report it via email as others have said. What if they discussed someone with an unusual Christian name, details of their meds/ restraint etc? Such a person could be easily identifiable.

On that front, hope nobody minds a mini me-rail but I had something similar happen the other week. I was sat in my local coffee shop and there was a team of 3 people who were evidently doing some type of handover, as 2 of them were telling the other one about their 'clients'.

Their 'clients' were clearly children with serious special needs inc learning and behavioural difficulties. I was sitting at the table next to them and it was impossible NOT to hear. They also referred to them by Xtian name, and their parents.

E.g. 'Callum's mum is a right odd one. She won't come out when the bus pulls up. She's just stood behind the door - and if you're lucky she's dressed. But sometimes she'll just be there in her bra watching. She doesn't think you can see her. Now Izzie, mostly she's quite happy if you keep her singing but she can get a strop on, and then I just say NO and she knows I mean business...........' etc etc. Went on for ages, just excruciating.

I don't know who they worked for but I really felt a meeting like that should have been done in private!!!!

SemiNormal Wed 22-Jun-16 09:59:51

Please do report. I have mental health problems as does my dad. We're stigmatised against enough as it is without having people who are supposed to help us 'gossiping' about us. I live in a small town and I have a fairly unusual name, I would easily be identifiable if someone had a conversation about me. There are no excuses for this kind of thing.

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