How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Stuart J Your Own Question
Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 22937
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street Practice
11292137
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
Stuart J is online now

I'm a mental health nurse and I was specialling a patient on

Customer Question

I'm a mental health nurse and I was specialling a patient on a general ward today. The patient was a 79 year old male with dementia. He had a cancer as well. In the evening time his brother asked me what is wrong with him, and I told him and his wife that he had dementia, by the slip of my tongue. They are not next of kin, his wife and daughter are. What could be the consequence of me telling other members of his family. I made a stupid mistake today, a week ago he asked me the same question and I said that I can't reveal as they are not next of kin. I would welcome your advice.
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: London UK
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I am a mental health nurse. I was looking after a 79 year old male patient on a medical ward here in London. His brother and wife were visiting. They asked me what was wrong with him. I by the slip of my tongue told them that he has dementia. They are not next of kin and I should not have revealed any medical condition to them. He also has cancer which I did not tell them. A week ago he asked me the same question and I told him only the next of kin I can discuss any medical issues, namely his wife and daughter. What could be the implications of me revealing such information to another member of their family?
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Could I lose my pin with the N.M.C. here in London. Could I be sued in a court of law and not be able to work for my nursing agency again.
Submitted: 9 days ago.
Category: Employment Law
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Hi did you receive my message.
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
no
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
or***@******.***
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
yahoo.com
sorry
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Please send to my email address***@******.*** thank you.
Expert:  Virtual-mod replied 9 days ago.
Hello,

I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
No worries I will wait
Expert:  Stuart J replied 9 days ago.

I have been asked to look at this for you.

Has this been raised as you either by the wife and daughter or brother and wife (presumably the brothers wife not the patients wife) or the patient’s wife or the patient’s daughter?

Or has it been raised by the employer?

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Not as of yet-this happened yesterday.
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
What time are you available until?
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
It is now 1130 hrs in the UK.
Expert:  Stuart J replied 9 days ago.

I am online at some stage everyday, sometimes along the others.

Although the site is administered in the United States, although use on here are based in the UK so we are on the same timescale.

 

To be honest, unless the brother and his wife say that you gave this information and shouldn’t have done, then it’s unlikely that anything is going to happen unless someone has made a complaint.

 

It is potentially a breach of client confidentiality and a breach of the General Data Protection Regulations although because of the nature of the relationship between siblings and because of the nature of the problem, and the fact that it’s highly likely that it would be an obvious anyone who doesn’t even have any medical training, that the gentleman had dementia, you may not actually have been saying anything which the brother was not aware of already.

At some stage, common sense has to prevail.

If example the brother visited and wanted to know whether his brother could see him or whether he was in the middle of his lunch, on a strict interpretation, saying that he is at the middle of his lunch or he finished his lunch or you had bacon sandwiches for breakfast is a breach of data protection.

Because of the circumstances here whilst it may be a disciplinary issue, I cannot see being deemed to be gross misconduct.

A lot would depend on the view that the employer takes and whether anyone raises a complaint but if they don’t raise a complaint, I would be inclined to keep quiet unless you have a very good relationship with your employer in which case you might want to pre-empt the complaint by you raising the issue first if you feel that the employer is going to be comfortable with it.

If I have answered your question for you, at the top of the page, you should see a rating facility. Can you please rate my reply 3 stars or more because that really helps me? Please note you are not rating whether it’s favourable, because sometimes you may not get the answer you want, but basically my knowledge and way of dealing.

The thread does not close and I am happy to answer any questions you may have arising from this.

Kind regards