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Private and confidential?Handling personal information in the social and health services$
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Chris Clark and Janice McGhee

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781861349064

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861349064.001.0001

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(p.231) Conclusion
Private and confidential?

Chris Clark

Janice McGhee

Policy Press

This chapter summarises the preceding discussions and presents some conclusions. The contributions to this book demonstrate that expectations and standards defining the professional duty of confidentiality are now in an unprecedented state of flux. In an important sense there is nothing new about the obligation to safeguard individuals' privacy and therefore protect their communications with a promise of nondisclosure: it has been a key feature of the professional relationship at least since Hippocrates. Four broad contemporary trends that are shifting, and possibly eroding, the ethic of confidentiality between professionals and clients are discussed. The key underlying principles that traditional confidentiality has sought to honour, and which new practices of confidentiality will equally need to implement in response to these trends, are identified.

Keywords:   privacy, confidentiality, personal information, professional practice, ethics

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