Coronavirus (COVID-19) - our advice for doctors

We recognise that this is a very difficult and worrying time for doctors. Our professional standards provide a framework for ethical decision making in a wide range of situations. They should be followed as far as practical in the circumstances. We're regularly updating our advice for doctors as the situation develops.

Confidentiality: disclosing information about serious communicable diseases

This guidance gives advice about accessing, using and disclosing information about the infection status of people who have serious communicable diseases, like HIV or tuberculosis.

It has advice on:

  • talking to patients about the risk of transmission
  • what to do if a healthcare colleague suffers a needlestick injury
  • disease control and surveillance
  • what to record on death certificates.

And it explores the circumstances in which disclosure without consent may be necessary, helping you to balance the risk of harm to others against the patient’s right to confidentiality.

This guidance came into effect 25 April 2017. 

Download the guidance

You can download the guidance in English or Welsh.

Confidentiality: disclosing information about serious diseases (English)
Confidentiality: disclosing information about serious diseases (Welsh)