What about family confidentiality?

Doctors and nurses are not permitted to discuss aspects of a patients case with any other family member, no matter how close. This includes married couples. The exception is where clear permission has been granted.

In the case of children, the age of 16 is regard is the age of adult choice of confidentiality. In children between the ages of 14-16 disclosure is by agreement and depends on the context of the case. Parents of children under 14 should have every expectation, with only rare exceptions, that they be informed of their child’s medical situation.

In cases where a responsible adult is caring for a patient as a temporary guardian in the absence of an adult family member, then the law allows a sensible approach in the best interests of the patient.

Examples of this include:
  • School teachers for small children who are injured with no parent present
  • Nurses in nursing homes
  • Professional carers
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