Health Professional-Patient Confidentiality: Does the Law Really Matter?
Bernadette M. McSherry
Monash University - Faculty of Law
Journal of Law and Medicine, Vol. 15, No. 4, p. 489, 2009
Monash University Faculty of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2009/27
The health professional-patient relationship is generally assumed to be a confidential one. However, health professionals may at times be legally and/or ethically required to breach confidentiality on the basis of broader societal interests. If there is a failure to disclose such information, a health professional may be held legally liable for non-disclosure as well as running the risk of his or her patient committing a serious offence, engaging in self-harm or putting other people’s lives at risk.
Recent research in the area being carried out pursuant to an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant indicates that legal requirements relating to confidentiality may be perceived to be less important by mental health professionals than their ethical responsibilities. This research project has thus far used a questionnaire and focus groups to examine perceptions relating to disclosure primarily in the situation where a patient has expressed a threat to kill or seriously injure another person. The focus group responses discussed below have however not been confined to the issue of disclosure on the basis of ‘dangerousness’, but have ranged more broadly across the spectrum of confidentiality in general.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 10
Keywords: Health professionals, Doctor Patient Privilege, Confidentiality, Mental Health, Disclosure
JEL Classification: K00, K1, K19, K3, K30, K39, K4, K49Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: April 20, 2010
© 2013 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This page was processed by apollo6 in 0.390 seconds