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Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill amended after lobbying around patient confidentiality concerns

20 December 2021

The BPS is pleased that amendments have been made to the Bill after concerns were raised about how provisions could damage patient trust.

Working closely with the BACP and BMA, the BPS briefed Peers in the House of Lords about our concerns, particularly around the sections that would have allowed for a mandatory obligation for healthcare workers to share confidential information about patients with the police.

The BPS briefing detailed how there are already mechanisms for the sharing of confidential health information when necessary on public interest grounds and how there was no need for new legislation. We raised concerns about the disproportionate impact of the legislation on certain groups and communities and how it could worsen inequalities.

As a result of our collaborative lobbying with the BACP and BMA, the government has amended the Bill to confirm its commitment that the current rules about medical confidentiality will continue to apply where a patient is subject to police enquiries.

Sarb Bajwa, Chief Executive of the BPS, said:

“This is a really encouraging move from the government and testament to the work of the BPS’ public affairs team, who worked in partnership with the BACP and the BMA on this important issue.

Trust is an essential component of a therapeutic relationship and confidentiality is an essential component of building this trust.

The Bill in its previous form would have been incredibly damaging to the development of trust and could have had a negative impact on the confidence of people in accessing the services and support they need.

We will continue to work closely with our partners to follow the passage of this Bill as it moves throughout parliament.”

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