Our view is simple:
Confidentiality between patient and doctor is an important principle. However, the safety of the patient is paramount and therefore sharing of information may well need to happen in order to save life. The Government's Suicide Prevention Strategy for England states that, ‘there are clearly times when mental health service practitioners, in dealing with a person at risk of suicide, may need to inform the family about aspects of risk to help keep the patient safe.’ Where the individual is under 18, the issue is even clearer: GMC Guidelines for all doctors dealing with 0-18 year-olds state that they should disclose information if this is necessary to protect the child or young person, or someone else, from risk of death and serious harm. The guidelines make clear that the doctors' ultimate responsibility is safeguarding and protecting the health and wellbeing of children and young people.
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