Promoting student wellness: welfare in UK medical schools
Do students’ fitness to practise rules undermine patient confidentiality?
- By: Andrew Kinmond
The official line on the welfare of medical students in the United Kingdom can be rather confusing at times. This was apparent when writing the first draft of this article. My original piece focused on the new guidance on the fitness of students to practise from the General Medical Council, the UK regulatory body.
Fitness to practise outlines students’ duty to behave professionally when they come into contact with patients and highlights that students must be mentally fit. I had some concerns about the guidelines because they potentially allow confidential information to be passed from one organisation to another without the medical student’s knowledge or consent:
Section 53 of the guidelines says, “Any exchange of confidential medical information [from a general practitioner, occupational health, or other healthcare providers] should be in the best interests of protecting patients and the public and should preferably be with the knowledge and informed consent