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RCCP Role in Patient Safety during the COVID-19 pandemic

The RCCP are continuing to engage even more so with our registrants and to provide the necessary support.  We understand some services are newly providing/increasing their provision of ‘virtual’ or remote clinics/remote monitoring facilities some of which are helping to reduce the need for in-patient stays to free up beds for the COVID-19 response.    

Registrants should continue to give due consideration to issues around accessibility, safety, confidentiality and risk when exploring the potential for digital or telephone delivery with individual service users.  Registrants must ensure they follow their employer data protection policy when accesses patient data outside of a secure environment when remote working.  They must comply with their duties of confidentiality and their obligations under GDPR in protecting sensitive patient information and data particularly where others may be working within the same home setting and using the same computer.  This applies to any hard copy, electronic documents, telephone or video calls where confidential patient information may be discussed. 

Registrants may also be providing more online or virtual clinics and should follow the NHS Digital standards Identity and Verification standard for Digital Health and Care Services (2018).

Although consent to digital delivery is implied through a service user accepting the invitation or engaging in the communication through the requested channel, practitioners should endeavour to discuss the implications of digital delivery with service users at the outset; the priority is continuation of services and data protection concerns should not prevent this.  The Information Commissioner’s Office will not penalise organisations that need to adapt their usual approach during this extraordinary period.
 
There is a reported rise in coronavirus-related phishing and other cyber-attacks as unscrupulous individuals seek to exploit the current situation.  Registrants should be extra-vigilant and should notify employees of any specific known risks as they arise.
 
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