Importance Of Confidentiality In Health Care

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Register to read the introduction… Every person has a right to have the capacity to make their own decisions and have a control over who has access to the private details because this permits individuals to participate as fully as possible in society and protects them from unwanted interferences with their choices (Allen 2009). While confidentiality is vital at the same time it is not unconditional. In some situations, where there is reasonable suspicion of child or elder abuse orwhere there is reasonable suspicion that patient may present danger to others or danger to oneself unless protective measures are taken, the law permits breaches of confidentiality. International Council of Nurses (2006) in Code of Ethics for Nurses states that “the nurse holds in confidence personal information and uses judgement in sharing this information” …show more content…
However, due to continuing stigma related to mental health it is not only important to protect patients confidentiality but to secure patients anonymousness as well. Stigma is a negative social label that identifies people as deviant because they have personal and social characteristics that lead people to exclude them (Johnson 2000). There are many misconceptions in our society that create stigma therefore, it prevents people with mental health problems to seek mental health service even if there are effective treatments available (Boyd 2008). People with mental illness (or a past history of mental illness) are vulnerable to discrimination in a variety of contexts. Stereotypes surrounding mental health keep people from getting meaningful jobs and advancing in the workplace, getting and keeping a safe place to live, being accepted by their family, friends and community, taking part in social activities, finding and making friends or having other long-term relationships. As a result stigma deprives an individual of his or her dignity, limits opportunities and interferes with full participation in society (Dovidio, Major and Crocker …show more content…
Health care workers must respect patient’s confidences. Private information, especially if identifiable, should only be disclosed to the third party with the consent of the patient. The consequences of undermining this duty of confidence would be damaging to the individuals health and treatment. Protecting patient privacy and confidentiality is vital mission of health care services as it helps to increase patient’s satisfaction and sense of dignity. It helps ensure that patients get the most effective care.


Reference list
Allen, A. 2009. Privacy and medicine [Online]. Available from: [Accessed 04 November 2010].
Anderson, J.G. and Goodman, K.W. 2002. Ethics and information technology: A case – based approach to a health care system in transition. New York: Springer.
Boyd, A.M. 2008. Psychiatric Nursing: Contemporary Practice. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Dovidio, J.F. Major, B. and Crocker, J. 2000. The social psychology of stigma. New York: The Guildford Press.
Helmchen, H. and Sartorius, N. 2010. Ethics in psychiatry: European contributions. London: Springer.
HIQA. 2010. An “As Is” Analysis of Information Governance in Health and Social Care Settings in Ireland [Online]. Available from:

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