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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: reporting gunshot and knife wounds

There’s a clear public interest in allowing the police to investigate violent crimes and assess the risk of further attacks. 

But we don’t want victims to be discouraged from seeking the medical attention they urgently need because they’re worried you’ll identify them to the police.

This guidance will help you to balance the patient’s right to confidentiality with the risk of harm to others. It helps you decide whether you can disclose personal information without the patient’s consent. And helps you interact with the police, saying what you can disclose to them with or without the patient’s consent.

This guidance came into effect 25 April 2017. It was updated on 25 May 2018 to reflect the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act 2018.

Download the guidance

You can download the guidance in English or Welsh.

Confidentiality - reporting gunshot and knife wounds (English)
Confidentiality - reporting gunshot and knife wounds (Welsh)