Confidentiality enables an open relationship between the service user and drug service professional. However, information sharing is also central to providing the service user with a seamless treatment journey which meets their needs and reduces the risk of harm to themselves and others. Information may need to be shared between agencies when service users are in contact with multiple agencies and when care is transferred from one agency to another.
Service users must receive an explanation of confidentiality at the outset of a treatment episode. As part of the assessment process the drug worker and service user will establish which personal information should be shared with other agencies and for what purpose. This may be revisited and revised as part of the care planning process.
No drug treatment service can offer absolute confidentiality. Drug services will have clear policies on how assessment processes and care plans should be shared. They will also have policies on confidentiality, informed consent and information sharing. The limits of confidentiality must be explained early so that relationships between drug workers and service users are based on an appropriate understanding of these issues. A service user’s confidentiality may be broken in exceptional circumstances. Examples of such circumstances include:
 to protect children, in which case, Surrey’s child protection procedures will be followed
 as a duty to the Courts
 to minimise the risk of serious harm to the service user or another person
Service users should be explicitly advised of their rights with regard to confidentiality including their right to access the information that is held on them.