Health and Social Care (Safety and Quality) Act 2015 given Royal Assent

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The Health and Social Care (Safety and Quality) Act 2015 received Royal Assent on 26 March 2015.

The new legislation has been introduced to give the Secretary of State more power to make regulations imposing any requirements necessary to prevent harm against those receiving medical care. The practical implementation of this is expected to be effected by the Care Quality Commission.

The Act amends the Health and Social Care Act 2012 by creating the concept of "consistent identifiers", which the Secretary of State may determine, to be used by medical services to identify every individual. Consistent identifiers must be included in all information recorded about a patient by any provider of medical or social care services.

There is also a duty for providers to share a patient's information with other care and health professionals, so long as it is in the patient's best interests and will facilitate the provision of social care and health services to that patient. Such information may not be disclosed if the patient objects, or would object to it, and this duty does not override provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 or any common law duty of care or confidence.

The Act may be viewed here.