Confidentiality: general principles


Confidentiality is an essential part of the relationship between all doctors and patients to maintain trust.

This course offers a general overview of the ethical principles of confidentiality and focuses on the ethical duty of confidentiality in relation to direct patient care and the protection of others.

It is primarily aimed at GPs, practice managers and administrators who want an understanding of the ethical principles doctors need to consider when a request is made for disclosure. Though the principles are likely to be useful for doctors working in any field.

The interactive scenarios are designed to test your understanding of what you should and shouldn’t disclose to others such as the wider healthcare team and those close to the patient. 

Learn more about disclosure to protect others such as children, patients who lack the capacity to consent, and confidentiality after death.

Learning objectives

By the end of this module you should:

  • understand what confidential information is
  • understand the general principles of confidentiality
  • know how to handle requests for confidential information from third parties such as the police and social services
  • understand when it is justified to breach patient confidentiality 
  • know where to seek advice.

The course is made up of 8 chapters and will take about 30 minutes to complete. You don’t have to complete the course in one sitting. Save your progress as you go by clicking on the power button in the blue bar.

When you finish you will be able to do a knowledge check and download a certificate of completion. 

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  • Dr Deen
  • 18 November 2022 12:19PM


  • Elamin Elshaikh
  • 12 October 2022 2:12PM


  • Mr Elshaikh
  • 12 October 2022 2:11PM

good to have membership and access to the courses