Education And Debate

Wider public interest may come before issues of confidentiality

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 03 January 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:57
  1. Margaret Brazier, professora
  1. a Faculty of Law, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL

    “Must I let this patient to see her records?” is the question a lawyer would generally expect to be asked. Some doctors are wary of allowing patients unrestricted access to their records, but this paediatrician offered his former patient open access. He sought to ensure that she would understand what she read and that she had support in dealing with the potential distress caused by discovering a childhood trauma. Since the Access to Health Records Act 1990 applies only to notes compiled after November 1991, he was under no legal obligation; none the less, he chose to recognise his ethical obligation to share information with his former patient.

    What ensued was not, as the …

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