Legal Obligations And Duty Of Confidence With Respect

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Health professionals have several overlying legal obligations including duty of confidence with respect to all information received in the course of a health-care relationship. Confidentiality is a patient’s right and is central trust between health professionals and patients. A “health professional” is defined in the Act and means a person who is registered under a health practitioner registration Act; for example the doctor, physiotherapist, dentist, midwife, or registered nurse1. A health professional also include the person who provides a health service; for example a social worker or dietician. The duty applies to any “confidential information” that could identify someone who has received or is receiving a public sector health service. Confidential information includes any information collected by the Department during the course of providing a health service to an individual; for example: name, address, date of birth, health and medical information2. The duty to maintain confidentiality means that a health professional is not allowed to disclose any medical information revealed by a patient or discovered by a health professional in connection with the treatment of a patient3. A disclosure of private information that the doctor has learned within the patient-physician relationship to a third party, without patient consent or court order, is a breach of confidentiality. Disclosure takes place when staff discloses confidential information to any other person,
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