Working with doctors Working for patients

Revised Confidentiality guidance

Revised guidance on confidentiality will come into effect for all doctors practising in the UK from 25 April 2017.

January 2017

Read the revised guidance here:

You can read the revised explanatory statements here:

We have also produced a key legislation factsheet that gives information about laws that require or permit disclosure of confidential information.

Until April 25, doctors should continue to follow our Confidentiality (2009) guidance.

What’s changed

The revised guidance is structured for easy use in practice. We’ve expanded, updated, and re-organised it to reflect the way doctors use information, focussing on:

  • Disclosures to support the direct care of an individual patient
  • Disclosures for the protection of patients and others
  • Disclosures for all other purposes

Read our ‘What’s Changed’ briefing (pdf).

What do I need to do?

1. Familiarise yourself with the guidance

All doctors will need to be familiar with the full revised guidance. A good place to start is the decision-making flowchart.

2. Review your materials

If you help to create guidance or resources for colleagues or members then please consider whether any of your own materials will need to be updated from 25 April to reflect our changes.

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact us at confidentiality@gmc-uk.org.

3. Look out for our tools for doctors

From April, we’ll be introducing a range of resources and case studies to help doctors apply the guidance in practice. We’ve signposted to the revised guidance from our new app – My GMP – which gives you access to the information you need, whether you’re on or offline.

Developed with doctors and patients

We’re grateful to the hundreds of doctors, patients, individuals and organisations from across the UK who contributed to our engagement activities. Their input was vital and helped to shape the revised guidance.

Read about the challenges doctors face in practice and how our guidance can help them overcome them: Balancing confidentiality guidance for you and your patients by Professor Jonathan Montgomery.

Read how we listened and reacted to feedback in developing the guidance (pdf).

We engaged extensively with groups with ‘protected characteristics’ as part of our consultation process. Our Equality Analysis (pdf) documents the steps we’ve taken to comply with the public sector equality duty (Equality Act 2010).