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.

Patient Refusal to Consent to Information Sharing

An adult with capacity may refuse to consent to information sharing. Whenever doctors seek to discuss confidential information about competent adults, they should consider in the first instance whether they can obtain consent.

In their confidentiality and disclosure guidance, the BMA (British Medical Association) state that "as part of the consent-seeking process, where an adult at risk is making a decision that is seriously at odds with an objective assessment of his or her interests, health professionals should sensitively explore the reasons behind the decision".

GPs should implement their professional curiosity, considering the possibility of confidential referrals to groups or organisations that offer support to adults at risk.

A refusal of disclosure by a patient should not result in them being abandoned by services, with appropriate care and support continuing to be offered.

An individual's Right to Object only applies in certain circumstances and can be exercised either verbally or in writing. Individuals can object where the processing is on the basis of 'public task'. An individual must give specific reasons why they are objecting to the processing of their data, and these reasons should be based upon their particular situation. In these circumstances this is not an absolute right, and you can refuse to comply if:

  • you can demonstrate compelling legitimate grounds for the processing, which override the interests, rights and freedoms of the individual; or
  • the processing is for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.

In making a decision on this, you need to balance the individual's interests, rights and freedoms with your own legitimate grounds. During this process you should remember that the responsibility is for you to be able to demonstrate that your legitimate grounds override those of the individual. the interests, rights and freedoms

If you are satisfied that you do not need to comply with the request, you should let the individual know and inform them of their right to make a complaint.



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