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Chapter

Cover Medical Law Concentrate

4. Confidentiality and access to medical records  

This chapter examines confidentiality as a fundamental aspect of doctor–patient relationships: its ethical basis and equitable, contractual, and tortious obligations. It then considers the law governing access to medical records and statute that necessitates fair and lawful processing of sensitive personal data and the EU General Data Protection Regulation aimed at harmonising data protection legislation. It discusses exceptions to the duty of confidentiality, including explicit and implied consent, prevention of harm to others, police investigation, public interests, and press freedom. The chapter considers confidentiality with respect to children; adults who lack capacity and deceased patients; remedies available for breach of confidence; access to electronic patient records; and issues raised by genetics-related information.