Friday, September 12, 2014

The Limits Of Client Confidentiality

In my previous post; I discussed how confidentiality is sacred "dharma" for clinical practice.

A Counselor or Psychiatrist can not be a tale-bearer.

But is confidentiality an absolute right? Something which has no limits.

Well... That does not seem to be the case.

Let us consider what the latest legislation in India called the The Mental Health Care Bill 2013 says.

Let me reproduce Clause 23 in full so that we have a 360 degree perspective.

Here it is...

(1) A person with mental illness shall have the right to confidentiality in respect of
his mental health, mental health care, treatment and physical health care.

(2) All health professionals providing care or treatment to a person with mental illness
shall have a duty to keep all such information confidential which has been obtained during
care or treatment with the following exceptions, namely:––

(a) release of information to the nominated representative to enable him to fulfill
his duties under this Act;

(b) release of information to other mental health professionals and other health
professionals to enable them to provide care and treatment to the person with mental

(c) release of information if it is necessary to protect any other person from harm
or violence;

(d) only such information that is necessary to protect against the harm identified
shall be released;

(e) release of information in the case of life threatening emergencies where such
information is urgently needed to save lives;

(f) release of information upon an order by concerned Board or the Commission
or High Court or Supreme Court or any other statutory authority competent to do so;

(g) release of information in the interests of public safety and security

Self explanatory. Isn't it?

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