Intended for healthcare professionals


Patients' denial of disease may pose difficulty for achieving informed consent

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 20 April 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:974
  1. A T Gavin, director,
  2. D Fitzpatrick, biostatistician,
  3. R J Middleton, data manager,
  4. M P Coleman, head
  1. Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast BT12 6BJ
  2. Cancer and Public Health Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT

    EDITOR—The 1998 Data Protection Act and the General Medical Council's guidance on confidentiality have resulted in uncertainty about whether patient consent is necessary to fulfil statutory requirements for fair and lawful processing of personal data such as the identifiable health information collected by cancer registries. 1 2 A regulation is expected under the Health and Social Care Act 2001 for England and Wales, while a consultation process is ongoing in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where health is a devolved matter.

    If we wish to retain population …

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