chapter  3
10 Pages

Confidentiality

ByVictoria Tippett

This chapter begins with the law on confidentiality in clinical practice, explores doctors' professional guidance in this area, and deals with the Access to Health Records Act 1990, Access to Medical Reports Act 1988, and the Data Protection Acts of 1984 and 1998. Most guidance on confidentiality comes from the Department of Health and the General Medical Council (GMC) although there are also legal requirements. The GMC has identified the various circumstances as exceptional and justifying disclosure of confidential information. The Data Protection Act 1998 applies to both data stored on computer and information manually stored in filing systems. The Act gives the patient a right to information about why data about her are being stored, and who will have access to that information. The Medical Reports Act applies to reports prepared by a doctor who has clinical charge of a patient, where the report will be directly supplied to the patient's employer or to an insurance company.