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The one and only rule of confidentiality is that we, doctors and staff and General Practice do not disclose ANY information about patients to anyone.

When is it permissible to provide information about a patient to a third party?

General practitioners can provide information to a third party without it constituting a breach of confidentiality in any of the following situations:

• the patient consents to the release of the information

• disclosure to another health professional to ensure appropriate medical care of the patient

• mandatory disclosure of information is required under law, eg. a subpoena or other court order; statutory requirements in regard to child abuse and infectious diseases

• there is an overriding duty in the ‘public interest’ to disclose information, eg. a patient who refuses to stop driving despite medical advice to do so; a patient who threatens harm against another person.

Detailed guidelines on privacy can be rad and downloaded here