Confidentiality in Prison Health Care - a Practical Guide
Elger, Bernice S.; Ritter, Catherine; Stöver, Heino
Emerging Issues in Prison Health
Place of publication
978-94-017-7556-4 ; 978-94-017-7558-8
Prison Health Care, Prison, Health Care
Medical confidentiality is universally recognized as an essential component of healthcare. However, preserving and protecting the confidentiality of prisoner patients is challenging in several ways. In this chapter we explore the general importance of medical confidentiality, and some of the challenges that arise in the wider context, before explaining and discussing some of the particular dilemmas that arise in the context of providing healthcare for prisoners. Overall, although healthcare professionals have the same obligations regarding confidentiality in the context of prisons, the conflicts of interest posed by their competing obligations to prison authorities often make it very difficult to strike the right balance between respecting patient confidentiality and protecting prisoners and others. We conclude by suggesting potential solutions for some of these difficult situations.