Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007: guidance for General Practice

Revised guidance to reflect developments in policy, practice and legislation both in the overall context of adult support and protection and in day-to-day activity. It provides information and detail to support practical application of the 2007 Act for GPs and staff in General Practice.

Data Sharing in Emergency Situations

Organisations can also carry out forward planning for emergency situations. In particular, organisations and practitioners should be confident that relevant personal information can be shared lawfully if it is to protect someone from serious harm, including safeguarding within a medical context. ICO guidance on Data sharing in an urgent situation or in an emergency emphasises that in an emergency, practitioners should go ahead and share data as is necessary and proportionate. It also advises what may constitute an emergency and that organisations should to plan ahead for such circumstances, i.e. consider training staff, consider DPIAs, assess the types of data that might be shared etc.

The key point is that the UK GDPR and the DPA 2018 do not prevent you from sharing personal data where it is appropriate to do so.

The ICO has a section on data sharing in an urgent situation or in an emergency in the Data Sharing Code of Practice.

The Code sets out that an emergency includes:

  • preventing serious physical harm to a person;
  • preventing loss of human life;
  • protection of public health;
  • safeguarding vulnerable adults or children.

In these situations, it might be more harmful not to share data than to share it. It is strongly recommended that controllers plan ahead for urgent or emergency situations as far as possible. Controllers should consider what data sharing might need to take place, what data should be shared and how this can be done in compliance with the law. This may involve preparing DPIAs and implementing DSAs to cover emergency situations which can include the relevant lawful bases and any conditions for processing as well what is likely to be necessary and proportionate in the context of the sharing. In an urgent or emergency situation, decisions have to be made rapidly and it can be difficult to make sound judgements about whether to share information. Spending time forward planning is key.



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