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What does confidentiality mean?

  • It means keeping information safe and private.
  • The health service keeps all your health information confidential. This includes:
    • anything you say
    • information someone writes about you, and
    • details of any treatment you have had.
  • You can talk to health workers about anything to do with your health. 

If you want to talk to a health worker about something personal, they must keep this information confidential, even if you are under 16. This may be information about:

  • sex
  • relationships
  • pregnancy
  • contraception
  • drugs and alcohol, or
  • feeling down.

Sometimes health workers do need to share information about you to give you good care.

Picture of young person and health workers in hospital

  • They may share information about you with other health workers who are looking after you – for example, health workers at a hospital or clinic if you have agreed to go there.
    • This is to make your care safer, easier and faster.
    • They will only share information that is needed to give you the best care.
    • If there are particular things that you don't want to be shared, tell your health worker.
  • If they think you are at risk of serious harm or you are in danger, they may have to tell another adult about it to be able to help you. But even then, they should tell you they are going to do this and explain who they will tell and why.
  • Sometimes the law allows the health service to share information about you without you agreeing to it. This would only happen in very serious situations – for example, if you have an illness that puts other people at risk, such as meningitis.

Page last edited: 18 December 2012