Patient confidentiality

UKTIS is commissioned by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to perform national surveillance of known and emerging human teratogens across the United Kingdom. As part of this surveillance, UKTIS performs routine follow-up of pregnancies reported to the service using standardised procedures to collect pregnancy and fetal outcome information following maternal or paternal exposures. The information collected is recognised by the Caldicott Advisory Panel of UKHSA to be vital for the identification of novel human teratogens, in recognising trends and risks associated with teratogenic exposures, protecting public health from the impact of human teratogens, and monitoring adverse reactions to vaccine and medication exposures which arise during or around pregnancy. Accordingly, UKTIS data collection and processing is covered by section 251 of the National Health Service Act 2006 and Regulation 3 of The Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 (Public Health England Approval Reference Number: 13091).

The NHS Act 2006 and Regulation 3 enable the common law duty of confidentiality to be temporarily lifted so that confidential patient information can be transferred to an applicant without the discloser being in breach of the common law duty of confidentiality. In practice, this means that the person responsible for confidential information (health professionals contacting UKTIS) can disclose patient identifiable information to UKTIS without being in breach of the common law duty of confidentiality. Under these regulations, UKTIS is obligated to remain compliant with all relevant legal data protection and information governance obligations.