SOP for Maintaining Confidentiality

The General Medical Council (GMC) states that patients should control the timing and amount of information accessed, used or disclosed (if anything) about serious communicable diseases.

The Trust requires this GMC standard to be applied by all staff (clinical and non-clinical).


The GMC defines a serious communicable disease as any of the following conditions:

  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Hepatitis-B
  • Hepatitis-C
  • Tuberculosis
  • Any human to human transmittable disease causing death or serious harm.


The aim of this SOP is to ensure that wherever possible any staff member who accesses, uses or releases information about a serious communicable disease either internally (within the Trust) or externally does so:

  • With the patient's explicit consent
  • Or, if consent is not given by the patient, then disclosure without patient consent should only be in the situations described in Section 2.


Patients, particularly with HIV, are very concerned how well contained their diagnosis is in primary care and there is evidence to support their fears. The patient does not control who sees their discharge letter.


Policy Details

Download: PDF version
Compiled by: Dr Erica Heppleston, Associate Director of Quality
Ratified by: Quality Governance Committee, (Chair's action)
Date Ratified: April 2019
Date Issued: May 2019
Review Date: April 2022
Target Audience: All staff
Contact name: Dr Erica Heppleston, Associate Director of Quality


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