GPs should not breach patient confidentiality to uncover terrorists, BMA warns

GPs should not be forced to open patient lists in an attempt to uncover potential terrorists, the BMA has warned.

The government would be putting GPs in an ‘impossible position,’ by asking them to identify possible terrorists, the BMA has warned.

Concerns over patient confidentiality have been raised following a redrafting of the government’s counter-terrorism programme proposed by home secretary Theresa May.

As part of the plan, doctors may be asked to identify people who are vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism.

A BMA spokeswoman said that ethically and legally doctors can breach patient confidentiality but ‘it is not their job to go beyond that.’

The BMA said it would not support any initiative that would force GPs to open up patients lists.

Asking GPs to treat a patient and at the same time assess their behaviour outside of the practice ‘would be putting GPs in an impossible situation'.

A doctor's role is to treat the patient in front of them, not predict how the patient will behave in future, the BMA said.

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