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Confidentiality: Case studies

These case studies and vignettes highlight and explore some of the principles covered in Confidentiality and its explanatory guidance. We hope that they will help doctors and others to understand how the principles in the guidance apply in practice. They are intended to illustrate the principles in the guidance, and are not a substitute for the guidance, or for specific advice from experienced colleagues, a Caldicott Guardian or equivalent, or a professional or regulatory body.

  • Domestic abuse: what should Dr Rix do when his elderly patient tells him, in the strictest confidence, that her daughter and carer has hit her?
  • Serious communicable diseases: what should Dr Biggs do when his patient says he does not want his GP, and later his surgeon, to be told of his HIV diagnosis?
  • A vulnerable adult: What should Dr Praed do when he learns that a young patient with a learning disability is falling into bad company and neglecting to monitor his diabetes?
  • When a patient disagrees with a report: should Dr Jackman change or withhold an occupational health report if the patient disagrees with it?