Letters

Rights involve responsibilities for patients

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7304.108/a (Published 14 July 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:108

Doctors must not generally pass personal information about patients to others without consent

  1. Cyril Chantler (JTupper@gmc-uk.org), chairman, standards committee
  1. General Medical Council, London W1N 6JE
  2. Market Rasen, Lincolnshire LN8 3BJ

    EDITOR—Doll and Peto suggest that the right to medical care should generally continue to include the responsibility to allow the information gained during its course to be used for the benefit of others who develop a similar disease or are at risk of developing it.1

    This is based on the false premise that such a responsibility exists and disregards the requirements of the law. Doctors, just like other citizens, are subject to legislation and the common law, which require consent to the disclosure of identifiable health information. It is clear not only from case law but from the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Human Rights Act 1998 that as a society we accord …

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