So, let’s say that you went to a General Practitioner (GP) about some pain, got some tests done, and they told you that you were fine; all the tests came back normal.

Then, some time later, they look back over the tests, and notice a condition that they had missed on their first look over them, and promptly sent the patient’s information to a local hospital so that they could book a surgery to correct the condition. This is done without consulting or informing the patient; the first time that they hear about it is when the hospital sends them a letter asking them to book an appointment for their surgery. If they had asked, the patient would have consented, but the patient wasn’t asked. This condition isn’t an immediately life-threatening one; the official categorisation that the hospital gave to it was “Semi-Urgent” which states that the surgery is to be performed within 90 days of the appointment being booked.

Does this violate formal codes of medical ethics, or any professional or legal regulations regarding patient privacy? What would the consequences be for the GP if the patient were to make a complaint to a regulatory authority? This occurred in Australia.

  • What jurisdiction? When signing up with the medical practice, did the patient conssent to the sharing of data with hospitals and the like? From a non-legal POV of a non-medical person, I'd say they did not violate medical ethics, however they were wrong not to communicate directly with the patient before doing the referal, and it could be worth finding out why that happened. – davidgo Aug 27 '19 at 5:53
  • @davidgo The question is tagged Australia. If the state matters, Queensland. – nick012000 Aug 27 '19 at 6:49

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