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Home Office is seeking new ways to obtain GP data on patients


Guidance from the GMC and others is clear. " If the police do not have a court order or warrant they may ask for a patient’s health records to be disclosed voluntarily under section 35 of the DPA 2018. However, while health professionals have the power to disclose the records to the police, there is no obligation to do so. In such cases health professionals may only disclose information where the patient has given consent, or there is an overriding public interest. "In this context a disclosure in the public interest is a disclosure that is essential to prevent a serious threat to public health, national security, the life of the individual or a third party, or to prevent or detect serious crime. This includes crimes such as murder, manslaughter, rape, treason, kidnapping and abuse of children or other vulnerable people. Serious harm to the security of the state or to public order and serious fraud will also fall into this category. In contrast, theft, minor fraud or damage to property, where loss or damage is less substantial, would generally not justify the breach of confidence necessary to make the disclosure. "Health professionals should be aware that they risk criticism, and even legal liability, if they fail to take action to avoid serious harm being caused to others. Guidance should be sought from the Caldicott guardian, or defence body where there is any doubt as to whether disclosure should take place in the public interest."

Posted date

22 Nov 2018

Posted time