Confidentiality - Disclosure to Third Parties
Doctors have a legal and ethical duty to keep all information relating to patients secure. However, whilst the duty of confidentiality is an important principle, it is not without exceptions.
Exceptions to the duty may arise where disclosure is required by statute, is ordered by a judge or presiding officer of a court of law or under a doctor’s ethical or contractual obligations. If a doctor decides to disclose information without consent, they should be prepared to justify their decision.
The General Medical Council (GMC) sets out in Confidentiality: good practice in handling patient information the principles of confidentiality and respect for patients’ privacy that doctors are expected to understand and follow.
If you have any queries or concerns surrounding the issues raised in this article, please do not hesitate to call the PMP medicolegal helpline. The PMP medicolegal helpline team, provided by Clyde & Co LLP (a law firm), can assist customers in preparing an appropriate response.
Information correct at time of publication May 2022
(Originally published September 2021)