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Confidentiality

As most people are all too well aware, patient-doctor confidentiality is well established, but Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 also supplements this by recognising a patient's right to a private family life.

Therefore, only in exceptional circumstances, where the health and safety of others would otherwise be at serious risk, would a request by a patient for disclosure not to be made to third parties be overridden, supported by C (a minor) (evidence: Confidential Information) (1991) 2 FLR 478, CA.

For example, disclosure may be in the public interest when failure to disclose may expose the patient or others to death or serious harm, or to detect and prevent serious crime.

Where disclosure is not permitted, the award of damages remains quite controversial although equitable damages can be awarded for emotional damage, according to Cornelius v. De Taranto [2001] EMLR 12 (QBD).


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