Intended for healthcare professionals

Practice Observed

Are general practitioners prepared to share information about their patients and their work?

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988; 296 doi: (Published 06 February 1988) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988;296:397
  1. Mike Pringle


    A questionnaire survey of the 44 general practices in Central Nottinghamshire Health District elicited 43 responses. Ten scenarios on sharing information were graded on a five point scale by each practice according to its willingness to share the information. Responses varied from 41 practices that would at least “probably” give the number of their young chronic sick patients to the local district health authority to 17 practices that were positive towards sharing with a local charity the names of elderly patients living alone. This second example raises profound issues of confidentiality. The extent to which practices were prepared theoretically to share practice generated information with outside bodies was generally high and showed a willingness to do so if the reasons were sound and the requesting body was acceptable.