From medical student to junior doctor: rules of confidentiality
Patients have a right to confidentiality, but in some instances the rules must be broken. Geoffrey Robinson and colleagues explain, in the penultimate article of the series
- By: Geoffrey Robinson, Sarah Aldington, Richard Beasley
Patients have a right to expect that information about them will be kept in strict confidence by their doctors. As part of the privilege of the doctor-patient relationship, the doctor has a responsibility to protect the patient's right to confidentiality. This has led to a series of rules that doctors must be aware of and follow in their clinical practice.14 But, as for all rules, circumstances exist when they may be broken for good reason, and doctors must also be aware of these exceptions.
Junior doctors in particular must be familiar with the issues surrounding patient confidentiality. From time to time they are given particular information that has not been disclosed to other health carers, and, on occasion, the patient expressly limits the possession of that information to the junior doctor.
Being registered as a medical practitioner gives doctors rights and privileges. In return, doctors have a duty to meet