Soft paternalism and the hospital cafeteria
There is a flaw in Norheim's argument by analogy. If the manager of
the hospital cafeteria decides to put healthy food at the beginning of the
counter, the worst that can happen is that customers eat more healthily
without consciously deciding to do so. If patients' health records are
made universally available, confidentiality is put at risk and the
potential consequences are serious.
When serious harm can result from a course of action, explicit
consent is required. The Royal College of General Practitioners is right
to insist on "opting in".
Competing interests: No competing interests