Under what circumstances is it legally justifiable for patients’ confidential information to be revealed? Can a patient’s records be used without his or her consent in investigations by registration bodies of a doctor’s practice?
An investigation currently being undertaken by the General Medical Council (GMC) in the UK raises an issue that has not to my knowledge been considered in Australia. What rights does a patient have if his or her medical records are disclosed to a registration body investigating the practices of one of its members? Similarly, what are a patient’s rights if his or her records are disclosed to a body undertaking a routine audit of a doctor’s practice – for example, to monitor the doctor’s skills or for ‘credentialling’ as a specialist practitioner?