What should I do to maintain the confidentiality of my medical records?

  • All communications that relate to your confidential medical information should be with your “informed and written consent”.
  • Medical details should not be given to managers without your consent. Advice on an individual's fitness for work can usually be given 'in general terms' only.
  • A GP or practice nurse communicating with your employer should always try to make contact through the employer's occupational health (OH) department (nurse or physician), rather than releasing medical details direct to line or personnel managers.
  • A GP has a vital advocacy role to play in relation to your health at work. Many patients do not know how to use the NHS effectively, and do not have a strong voice or representation at work.
  • However, unlike a GP, an employer's occupational physician is not the worker's 'personal medical attendant', and therefore has to be careful to give advice to both the employer and the employee that is as even-handed and objective as possible.
Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.