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Medical Confidentiality

Mr. Leigh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what priority is given to protecting medical confidentiality in combating abusive sexual relations. [69758]

Mr. Lammy: I have been asked to reply.

The circumstances in which confidential information about individuals can be disclosed are governed by the common law duty of confidence. This legal obligation in no way constrains health professionals and others who hold confidential information from disclosing such information appropriately where children are at risk.

The Department issued guidance entitled "The Protection and Use of Patient Information" to the national health service in March 1996. This explains that patient information should only be released on a need to know basis if it is required by statute or the courts, is supported by the consent of the individual, or if it is judged that there is a strong public interest justification in disclosure which overrides the duty of confidence to the patient. For example, in circumstances where failure to do so may expose the patient or others to a risk of death or serious harm or the information is needed to prevent serious crime. Disclosure of information in the public interest is a matter of professional judgment and must be decided on a case by case basis by the health professional responsible for the patient's care.

In child protection cases, the overriding principle is to secure the best interests of the child. Therefore, if a health professional has knowledge of abuse or neglect they may disclose relevant information to an appropriate person or authority where disclosure is felt to be in the medical interests of the child patient.



Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many courses of contraception and contraceptive devices have been prescribed (a) to persons over 16 and (b) to persons of each age group under 16 in each year since 1990. [44285]

Ms Blears: Tables showing first contacts with women at family planning clinics by primary method of birth control are as follows. It should be noted that family planning clinics account for only about one fifth of prescriptions for contraceptives to women of all ages; over two-thirds of contraceptive prescriptions in England are provided by general practitioners.

It should also be noted that these figures count only once those women who have attended family planning clinics more than once in a 12 month period.

First contacts with women at family planning clinics by primary method of birth control and age, 1991–92 to 2000–01
Number of first contacts (thousand)

1992–93 1992–93 1993–94 1994–95 1995–96
Primary methodUnder 1616 & overUnder 1616 & overUnder 1616 & overUnder 1616 & overUnder 1616 & over
Total all methods18.5882.722.4858.731.7835.244.7832.451.4835.7
Oral contraceptives-total13.0506.813.9482.318.0464.024.9461.225.4433.7
Combined preparation12.8448.413.7427.617.6411.924.5410.724.9385.0
Injectable contraceptive0.219.70.323.10.327.70.535.10.740.7
Other chemicals0.
Male condom4.4167.87.1189.011.4185.317.2205.922.5234.5
Female condom(43)0.511.
Rhythm method0.
Female sterilisation0.
Other methods0.726.00.923.

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1996–97 1997–98 1998–99 1999–2000 2000–01
Primary method Under 1616 & overUnder 1616 & overUnder 1616 & overUnder 1616 & overUnder 1616 & over
Total all methods54.6865.455.0861.453.8862.356.3860.062.1852.8
Oral contraceptives-total23.0419.922.7413.421.8399.622.7400.923.9396.2
Combined preparation22.5369.922.2364.221.1351.621.7319.922.8315.2
Injectable contraceptive1.
Other chemicals0.
Male condom27.1266.127.0271.626.2272.427.6265.530.9251.9
Female condom0.
Rhythm method0.
Female sterilisation0.
Other methods3.025.53.531.03.943.13.840.74.647.7

(43) Information about the female condom was first collected from 1993–94

(44) Information about implants was first collected from 1995–96


Department of Health Statistics Division SD2B, Form KT31

NHS Trust Staff

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what positions the (a) Chief Executive and (b) Director of Performance Management at the South Warwickshire General Hospitals NHS Trust, criticised at the time of the publication of the Audit Commission report into inappropriate adjustments of waiting lists, now hold in the NHS; [56925]

22 Jul 2002 : Column 866W

Mr. Hutton: Part 2 paragraph 12 of the Open Government Code of Practice prohibits the disclosure of personal information about any person which would constitute or could facilitate an unwarranted invasion of privacy.

22 Jul 2002 : Column 867W

Of the 17 postholders referred to in the hon. Member's parliamentary questions:

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