My duty as a healthcare worker
All healthcare workers (nurses, midwives, doctors, receptionists, etc.) have duties and obligations that they must adhere to. The GMC notes that “patients must be able to trust doctors with their lives and health. To justify that trust you must show respect for human life and make sure your practice meets the standards expected of you”. Most importantly, the care of your patient should be your first concern. We believe that the Charging Regulations compromise this.
The Duty of Care can and should be used to challenge the duty to implement Charging Regulations within NHS Trusts.
Duty of care to the patient
All healthcare workers have a primary duty of care to all patients, including patients who are not directly under your responsibility. Health professionals have a duty to do all that is reasonable to secure the best outcome through providing the highest quality care to the best of their abilities.
Duty to be up to date
All healthcare workers have a duty to make sure that their knowledge and skills to optimise patient care and available treatments are up to date.
Duty of confidentiality
All healthcare workers have a duty to keep all patient information confidential, unless disclosed with the patient’s consent or for safeguarding purposes.
The Government has shown that it is willing to disregard or undermine this duty through data-sharing agreements. However, the duty of care to patients is the primary priority for healthcare workers, and this sharing of patient information for these purposes clearly compromises this. Common Law Duty of Confidentiality clearly notes that “a disclosure in the public interest […] is not a decision to be made lightly. Solid justification is required before individual rights are set aside and specialist or legal advice should be sought before the information is disclosed.”