Medical Confidentiality and Legal Privilege

Medical Confidentiality and Legal Privilege

Medical Confidentiality and Legal Privilege

Medical Confidentiality and Legal Privilege


Confidentiality in the era of AIDS is a 'buzz-word' in medical practice. But in the court room there is no confidentiality. This book asks: Why is this the case? Why are other professional confidential relationships protected in the court room? McHale discusses the extent of the doctors legal obligation to keep patient information confidential and asks whether there is need for statutory reform


This book would not have been written without the kindness and encouragement of a large number of people. I would like to thank particularly Professor Margaret Brazier, who encouraged me to write the book and whose endless patience and enthusiasm sustained me through the long writing process. Thanks are also due to Professor Martin Wasik who was my supervisor for my M. Phil. thesis which formed the basis for the book.

Several people have stoically waded through drafts of the book at various stages and made perceptive comments. I wish to thank Dr Mary Lobjoit, Professor A.O. Dyson, David Ormrod, Dr Marcus Ellis and Michael Gunn.

A number of medical practitioners also kindly gave up their time to talk to me about how medical confidentiality and the dilemmas of confidentiality in the courtroom appeared from the viewpoint of their own practice: Dr Mary Lobjoit, Dr Margaret Towse, Dr Marcus Ellis, Dr Michael Maresh and Dr Richard Burslem. I would also like to thank the editorial staff at Routledge for their kind assistance, in particular Virginia Myers and Pauline Marsh.

Last, but as the cliché says, by no means least, I wish to thank my parents and my friends, who have probably heard enough about medical confidentiality to last them several lifetimes!

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