Guidance to support information sharing by mental health services


mental-healthThis guidance sets out some of the opportunities and constraints with regard to exchanging information between multi-agency organisations and health services, as well as between health services and individuals. It also covers Data protection issues and the safeguarding against unauthorised access to written or electronic records, which can be achieved by password protection and ensuring that personal data within their organisation is appropriately risk managed. It deals with issues such as circumstances where the decision is made to share information about an individual in the best interests of that individual or the family, other groups and the wider population whilst adhering to the Data Protection Act 1998. The sharing of appropriate information between professionals and multi-agency co-operation ensures that the individual is given access to the care and services that they need.

All of the listed acts, legislation etc play a major role in ensuring that an individual, from the first suspicions of mental health concerns through diagnosis, treatment, possible detention, discharge and aftercare, receive a high standard of service where all those involved are accountable.

The relevant legislation/Acts etc are as follows:


  • The Mental Health Act 1983 (amended) 2007
  • The Mental Capacity Act 2005
  • The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (independent capacity advocates) (general) Regulations 2006
  • The Access to Medical Reports Act 1988
  • The Data Protection Act 1998 followed on from the Data

Protection Act 1984 and the Access to Health Records Act 1990.

Its aim is to ensure appropriate protection and use of the service user’s information.

  • The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  • The Human Rights Act 1998
  • Mental Health (patients in the community) Act 1995
  • The DOH  Information Sharing and Mental Health Guidelines





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