COVID - 19 BACP guidelines for Counsellors
If you test positive for coronavirus, the NHS test and trace service will ask you about people you've been in contact with. The NHS will then contact them to provide support and testing. This has raised concerns about whether you can identify your clients to the NHS.
The government recommends that businesses keep a temporary record of clients and visitors that they have had in the last 21 days. See the guidance for information on what this record should include and how to keep it in accordance with GDPR.
You may need to revisit your contract with your clients. Your existing contract may refer to the limits of confidentiality relating to the balance of public interest. Public interest is the general welfare and rights of the public that must be recognised, protected and advanced. Disclosures in the public interest, based on the common law, are made where this is essential to prevent a serious and imminent threat to public health, national security, the life of the individual or a third party, or to prevent or detect serious crime.
You could explain to your clients that, under this clause, you may need to share their name and contact details with the NHS if you or another client contract the virus. If you want to make it clearer to clients, you could add a separate coronavirus contingency clause, stating that confidentiality will be broken if necessary for reasons of public interest in the area of public health.
For the purposes of Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulation 2016 Claire Ryall is the data controller of The Paddock, High Street, Rimpton, Nr Yeovil, Somerset BA22 8AG.
I store your name, telephone number and email address and other personal information that you provide to me. I will also write notes of sessions.
I keep notes of our counselling sessions. These are stored in a locked cupboard and destroyed seven years after your counselling sessions end unless agreed otherwise.
At the end of these periods respectively I will confidentially destroy all paper copies and delete any data stored online. If I die or am incapacitated then your notes will be confidentially destroyed within three months.