Competency 3 – Good Clinical Care: Respect confidentiality
Objective: to develop reflective communication between healthcare professionals, employers and employees
GMC publication Confidentiality: Protecting and Providing Information
This can be elicited by a series of questions to open debate on confidentiality.
Are all medical practitioners bound by confidentiality?
Why is confidentiality important?
- Patients’ right to know that information about them will be held in confidence by their doctors.
- It is central to the trust between doctors and patients.
- Without confidentiality patients may be reluctant to give doctors information they need in order to provide good care.
How can information given in confidence be passed onto a third party?
- With expressed consent of the individual concerned.
- Disclosures required by law.
- Disclosures to the courts or in connection with litigation.
- Disclosures to statutory bodies.
- Disclosures in the public interest.
- Disclosures to protect patients or others.
- Disclosures in relation to children or those who lack capacity to give consent.
- Disclosures following death.
What type of information can a medical practitioner pass on to an employer regarding an employee?
- Factual information regarding an individual’s general state of health.
- Prognosis of their medical condition; likely date of return to work, general information relating to the nature of any health concerns.
Is there a difference between passing on information to an employer and an occupational health professional?
- Yes, a report submitted to a fellow medical professional is likely to contain more clinical details, and use medical jargon freely.
- Such reports are bound by confidentiality by the occupational health professional and the only information that can be provided to management without consent is that relating to functional ability.
- It can be interpreted by the occupational health professional to the needs of the working environment.
Can a medical practitioner pass on confidential information without consent?
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