Ethics Essay

4818 Words 20 Pages
Protecting the confidentiality of a patient with an infectious disease can be complex. On one hand health care professionals are expected to follow the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) Code of Conduct 2010 guidelines which stress the importance of protecting patient confidentiality: “you must respect people’s right to confidentiality” (2010, p.3) and making every effort to promote patients as individuals who should be treated with dignity and respect (2010, p.3). Health care professionals may find themselves in turmoil over whether their necessity to protect others from cross-infection overrides the duty of care to their patient by keeping their information confidential; particularly in this case (see Appendix A) where the patient, …show more content…
Sam wants to feel confident that his nurse will protect his personal information as instructed. However, in certain circumstances there may be times when confidentiality must be breached. In health profession ethics, there is a general implied promise of confidentiality. Two major exceptions involve cases in which keeping confidence would pose either a threat of harm to the patient or if it would pose a threat of harm to others. The Nursing and Midwifery Council’s ‘The Code’ (2010, p.3) states that: “You must disclose information if you believe someone may be at risk of harm, in line with the law of the country in which you are practising.” Staff routinely handle confidential patient information; they should have an insight and the discipline necessary to maintain patient confidentiality in the appropriate circumstances. They receive information on a need to know basis. Generally, the need to know should be presumed to be based on the interests of Sam and not the staff. The NMC clauses stress the importance of collaborating with patients and rule that: “You must listen to the people in your care and respond to their concerns and preferences.” (2010, p.3) On the other hand there may be times when information is essential to share between multi-disciplinary teams to ensure good quality treatment. Sam may have to understand and accept that there must be some personal information shared between healthcare staff; especially with increasingly complex care pathways.

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