Genetic disease patients may lose privacy rights to protect families

David Rose reports:

New guidance for Britain’s 150,000 practising doctors could remove the right to confidentiality from patients with inherited diseases.

When a patient is found to have a genetic disease, such as certain forms of cancer, doctors will be obliged to inform relatives about potential risks to their health, the General Medical Council (GMC) says.

Updated guidance on confidentiality, seen by The Times before publication on Monday, suggests that most patients will readily share information about their health with their children and close relatives.

However, in circumstances where family relationships have broken down, where children have been adopted — or patients refuse consent to disclosure — doctors should still share information with others who might be at risk if they remain ignorant of a potentially life-threatening condition.

Read more on TimesOnline.

About the author: Dissent