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Confidentiality

Peter C Arnold, Bernadette M Tobin, Steven R Leeder and Ernest R Somerville
Med J Aust 2002; 177 (1): 165.
Published online: 1 July 2002

In reply: Arnold makes a good point. We agree with him, and would resist today's increasing tendency, on public health grounds, to make it mandatory for doctors to report a variety of conditions suffered by their patients. In general the community is well served if doctors have the discretion to decide, in any particular case, whether the public interest in maintaining a patient's confidentiality is outweighed by the public interest in breaching that confidentiality in order to protect innocent third parties.

  • Peter C Arnold
  • Bernadette M Tobin
  • Steven R Leeder
  • Ernest R Somerville

  • 1 PO Box 280, Edgecliff, NSW.
  • 2 Plunkett Centre for Ethics in Healthcare, St Vincent's Hospital, Darlinghurst, NSW.
  • 3 Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney, NSW.
  • 4 Epilepsy Unit and Department of Neurology, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, NSW.

Correspondence: parnold@ozemail.com.au

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