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GP Confidentiality of information from relatives

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
434
0
I have a relative who seems clearly to me to be in the early stages of dementia with short-term memory problems the main symptom. There are other medical issues as well and the relative is very old. I approached the relative's GP and expressed concern about driving, asking the GP to consider whether he should be driving and stressing that this was a decision for the GP to make after proper consideration. I expressly stated that what I told the GP was confidential but the GP has telephoned the relative and told him that I have raised concerns. This may do serious harm to the relationship because the person concerned is in complete denial of any deterioration in mental health and believes he is an excellent driver unimpaired by age or infirmity of mind or body, so he is upset and angry that I should have done this. I have complained about the breach of my confidence by the GP. I have not asked the GP to disclose anything at all to me. I am wondering if anyone knows where I stand on this, was i right to expect that the GP would keep infomation I gave him to himself?
 

Havemercy

Registered User
Oct 8, 2012
135
0
I have a relative who seems clearly to me to be in the early stages of dementia with short-term memory problems the main symptom. There are other medical issues as well and the relative is very old. I approached the relative's GP and expressed concern about driving, asking the GP to consider whether he should be driving and stressing that this was a decision for the GP to make after proper consideration. I expressly stated that what I told the GP was confidential but the GP has telephoned the relative and told him that I have raised concerns. This may do serious harm to the relationship because the person concerned is in complete denial of any deterioration in mental health and believes he is an excellent driver unimpaired by age or infirmity of mind or body, so he is upset and angry that I should have done this. I have complained about the breach of my confidence by the GP. I have not asked the GP to disclose anything at all to me. I am wondering if anyone knows where I stand on this, was i right to expect that the GP would keep infomation I gave him to himself?
Not sure about this but would have thought that the GP's duty of confidentiality was to his patient - not you. Others will hopefully be along to clarify things but I do understand that you are very cross.
 

Havemercy

Registered User
Oct 8, 2012
135
0

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
434
0
Thanks, I felt that the GP would be the best place to start, after all the DVLA will only act on a medical opinion. I wanted to get the GP to give the matter proper consideration and reach a conclusion before anyone approached the DVLA.
 

Weasell

Registered User
Oct 21, 2019
764
0
Thank you for taking the trouble to post, and let it be a warning to all.

Denial that anything is wrong with them is a major dementia symptom .

Your post reinforces my view that if you have concerns the best course of action is to fill in the form that @Havemercy posted above. Then if the person inquires if it was you that raised concerns, deny deny deny!

It is a sad part of dementia that when they can remember nothing else they remember It is ‘your fault‘ they cannot drive.

You have lots of my sympathy, I hope others posting have ideas of what you should do.
 

Lemondrizzle

Registered User
Aug 26, 2018
88
0
My MIL fixated about losing her car right up until her final illness. Fortunately for us she blamed the Government for saying she couldn't drive and had no concept of the risks she posed when on the road.

In respect of the GP, as stated the GP's responsibility ultimately is to their patient and my MIL's GP was at pains to point out that she would only keep our confidence when doing so did not conflict with the care afforded to my MIL. We were lucky overall but I will say that I feel it is important to keep the GP on side and this does not seem something over which you should potentially be falling out. I would be inclined to try to bluff it out with the PWD.
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
2,164
0
Victoria, Australia
Not sure about this but would have thought that the GP's duty of confidentiality was to his patient - not you. Others will hopefully be along to clarify things but I do understand that you are very cross.
I agree but I don't think the GP handled it very well at all. I would have thought that it wasn't necessary to tell your relative about the conversation unless there were particular circumstances requiring it. I have had quite a few conversations with our GP about my husband, he has taken it on board and used the information to assist in the care for him.

I think confidentiality is just that and this GP showed very little in the way of common sense in doing what was in the best interests of your relative.
 

Lynmax

Registered User
Nov 1, 2016
597
0
When I wrote to my mother's GP with concerns over her memory and capacity, I asked that he did not mention the letter to mum but called her in for a routine visit. He was happy to do this and I checked with the receptionist that her notes made it clear about the letter and confidentiality. I guess we were lucky that he respected my request and mum never knew how the whole dementia diagnosis started.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
72,158
0
Kent
I think you acted with the best intent @MartinWL and am sorry the GP broke your request for confidence.

I did the same with my mother but I was next of kin. Perhaps this was the difference. I might not have been happy if another family member had discussed my mother with her GP.
 

Weasell

Registered User
Oct 21, 2019
764
0
I have returned to your post as it interests me. It’s good to read someone’s post and think ‘ I really learnt something there’

So if you had said to the GP ‘ I am concerned about Janet over the road, I can hear her screaming when her husband punches her’ would the GP have phoned her up and said ‘ Brian over the road is concerned about you’ then two days later hubby and his three psycho brothers arrive on your doorstep to demonstrate their gratitude for your interest?

I post a link to compassionate communication which is useful for all of us

I am a huge fan of love lies.
The problem you have is the GP has disclosed it was you that contacted them, they obviously didn’t make up your name from the phone book, so you can’t wiggle on That bit of information.
One idea ( may be good may be bad but something to consider) would be.
’ I did contact the GP but they didn’t listen to me and have twisted what I said.

‘I contacted the GP as I have read about a medication called Memantine. It solves peoples memory issues. I contacted the GP as I want you to be able to drive for many years to come and was curious to know if the medication would benefit you. I didn’t discuss it with you as I didn’t want to build up your hopes Before mentioning it!
The GP didn’t listen to what I said I realise this has backfired and I am very very sorry.

Obviously Memantine doesn’t cure people’s memory issues, we wouldn’t have a forum if it did ! But it does help certain people with certain conditions , if you wanted to read a little bit more about it just put the name in the search bar at the top of the page.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
434
0
Following up on this I made a complaint and received a fairly grovelling and lengthy apology from the GP concerned so I have said "apology accepted, matter closed" as there is nothing to be gained by persuing it now. It has caused some problems with the relationship, in that I am considered jointly to blame along with the GP in question - more in another posting.