Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Knife crime details exempt from patient confidentiality rules

  • Comment

NHS staff can break patient confidentiality by reporting knife injuries to the police, according to new General Medical Council (GMC) guidelines.

They also says that doctors may pass on details of inherited conditions and cancers to a patient’s family in order to alert them to the risks.

Regarding knife wounds, the guidance says that even cases involving children who have cut themselves by accident should be reported.

If staff believe that a serious crime has been committed or they are at risk themselves they may then pass on patient details to the police.

Dr Henrietta Campbell, who chaired the GMC’s working group on confidentiality, said: “We are not asking doctors to force patients to speak to the police, but we are asking them to pass on information which will help the police to help protect patients, the public and staff from risks of serious harm.”

The advice also covers areas including telling the DVLA if a patient might not be fit to drive, responding to public criticism of treatment and giving information relating to benefit claims.

At present, doctors are only required to pass on details of gunshot wounds. The new guidelines comes into effect on October 12.

  • Comment

Related files

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.