Confidentiality and data protection

Confidentiality

We respect your privacy. Any information you disclose is confidential to the Student Wellbeing Services team within Learning Support and Wellbeing which comprises counsellors, mental health workers, wellbeing officers, care leaver and administrative staff. As a rule we do not pass on personal information about you, including your attendance, to anyone outside the service (such as parents, tutors or placement staff).

There are certain exceptions:

1. Where you give us express consent to disclose information (for example if you request an extenuating circumstances letter).  

2. Where, in order to support you, we need to contact your GP or involve other University services, such as Disability Services. It is our practice to discuss any such contact with you in advance and any information shared will be on a strictly ‘need to know’ basis.

3. Where the law requires us to break confidentiality (we are talking about serious crime such as terrorism and drug-trafficking, rather than misdemeanours).

4. If you give us information that leads us to believe that you, or someone else, is at serious and/or imminent risk of harm then we may take steps to minimise this danger. This would include child protection issues. Any action would usually be discussed with you first.

Fitness to Practice

If you are training to be a doctor, nurse, teacher or social worker, the University also has a duty of care to the members of the public. In exceptional circumstances, where Student Wellbeing staff feel that the difficulties you are experiencing place people in your care at risk of harm, we would contact the relevant school to enable you to access additional and appropriate support, such as Occupational Health. You would be included in and supported through this process wherever possible.

Supervision

Student Wellbeing staff are required to receive professional clinical supervision for their work to ensure quality of practice. Your sessions (but not your identity) may be discussed in supervision, which is confidential and undertaken with an experienced practitioner.

Record keeping and Data Protection

It is considered good practice for Student Wellbeing staff practitioners to keep records of their client work. If you use the service you will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement confirming you have received the data protection information and that you consent for us to keep details of your sessions. These records contain brief and factual information. Information is held on a password-protected database (we no longer keep paper records) and kept for a period of six years; at this point it will be deleted.

Access to Notes

Under the terms of the 1998 Data Protection Act, you have a right to access all notes kept on you. If those notes contain references to other individuals these may not be made available to you, as data protection is also granted to third parties.

If your file includes a letter or additional information from the person responsible for your clinical care, such as a GP or psychiatrist, consent from the relevant practitioner must be obtained before the correspondence is disclosed.

If you wish to see your file, you should put a request in writing to the Manager of the Student Wellbeing Services, Anne Bentley, giving at least ten days’ notice.

Complaints

Although we provide a high quality, professional service, if you feel we have fallen short of our high standards please raise this in the first instance with the member of Student Wellbeing Services with whom you are linked. If you would like to speak to someone else you may always contact the Manager, Anne Bentley. Any concern will be handled with sensitivity.

Members of the Student Wellbeing Service subscribe to their own relevant professional bodies. The counsellors are members of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Ethical Framework and are subject to the BACP Professional Conduct Procedure.

Formal complaints should be addressed via the University’s student complaints procedure.

Anytime Advice and Mental Health Helpline – 24/7 support

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Student Wellbeing Service - Plymouth campus

Learning Gateway, University of Plymouth, Ground Floor, Roland Levinsky Building, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA

Semester opening times: Monday–Friday, 8.30–17.00 (Tuesday open 10.00, Friday close 16.30)