BMA's patient confidentiality rules are deemed unlawfulBMJ 1999; 319 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.319.7219.1221a (Published 06 November 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1221
- Clare Dyer, legal correspondent
New BMA guidelines on patient confidentiality have been branded unlawful by the Association of Community Health Councils for England and Wales, the statutory body representing patients interests in the NHS.
The disagreement centres on the use of anonymised patient data for audit, research, or commercial purposes. Guidance from the BMA says that the disclosure of “truly anonymous information does not breach confidentiality,” whereas the association of community health councils disagrees, claiming that it is extremely difficult to “completely anonymise patient information,” so that individuals may still end up being identified.
It claims that the BMA should have awaited the outcome …