Breach of confidentilaity

Hello all, havent been on the forum for some time but feel i need to speak to soneone tonight. Here goes, I work as a nurse in a gp practice and have never had to tell them I have pakinsons, it is mild but progressing and doesnt affect my work. However one of the gps noticed my tremor and spoke to another gp, this conversation was overheard by the practice manager who relayed it to one of my nurse collleages- why of why did they not speak to me. I feel very angry about this and I am back mentally to the day eight years ago when I was diagnosed. I now feel the subject of gossip in a gp surgery where you expect confidentiality to be respected.

I felt that my health was private to me and I would tell anyne when I chose.


Sorry if this sounds a bit of a rant but I havent anyon else to talk to

Hi dejay

I'm sorry to hear of your problem. Absolutely your health is private to you, and absolutely you feel this privacy has been invaded. What feels wrong is that you feel no longer in control.

But - I wonder if that's all there is to it at the moment: that you feel invaded? What's happened? A GP has noticed a tremor and a number of people have got to hear about that, it seems. So, as you'll all know, there are lots of reasons for having a tremor, of which PD is just one. They can speculate but that's all: you're still in control, you know more than they do. Of course gossip isn't nice - but it isn't breach of confidentiality.

There are lots of things you can do now - ignore the gossip, confront it, be open about your condition, tell people it's none of their business, tell your boss but remind him/her about their duty to keep your confidentiality. Apart from the first and last, I'd think it would be difficult to do any of the others unless you've been directly approached by anyone over the matter.

And the other thing you can do is to rant here (I don't call the above anything like even a mini-rant).

Very best


Hi Deejay -That's appalling. Your just as entitled to expect confidentiality as patients do. The practice manager should certainly know better. Have you spoken to anybody about it? You probably won't want to make a fuss because you have to work together,  but perhaps have a word with the practice  manager to let her know how upset you are.



thanks for taking the time to read my "Rant", practice manager has sent me an e mail asking me to come and speak to him when I feel able, he has told my line manager that he overstepped the mark, but at the moment it doesnt make me feel any better. \sounds silly buy I feel I have gone back 10 years and have to decide all over again who I tell


I would  think that after 8 years you would be exhibiting some pretty obvious symptoms of Parkinsons that were quite noticeable to medical practitioners  and that the gossip, as you call it, is only because of concern about you and how you mange your work with patients.Quite understandable IMO.

Who you tell, and when you tell them is of course up to you, BUT, if anyone is put in jeopardy because you have NOT told your employer, you have only put yourself in a possibly difficult position.

I am sure that if you inform them of your diagnosis, it's probably on your medical records anyway and can be accessed, they will only be sympathetic and do what they can to help you continue working, if that is your concern.


Can we assume that as a practise nurse you'd be taking blood samples and giving flu jabs etc ?

If so with a tremor in your hands surely there is a safety issue here towards your patients and by all accounts should 've been brought to your boss's attention long before now..

Well, I didn't want to put  it so bluntly but that is the issue that I alluded to when I mentioned,'manage your work with patients.'

Time to come out I think before a complaint is made, or worse.

The confidentiality matter, and the disclosure to a colleague, is another matter altogether.

Thanks a lot.

As a proffessional I would of course have raised this if it affects my work but it doesnt, Yes I take blood, remove stitches, give injections and it is not affected , my tremor only occurs, luckily, when I am resting, I dont take any medication and never have. I see a neurologist every 4 months and can still write with both hands as i have always been able to.


The matter that made me angry was as benji finishes by saying the disclosure by a colleague of something that he had no confirmationwas true and no permission to disclose.Any how I have lodges a complaint with the GMC and await the outcome

Sorry but in your first post you stated that one of the GPs noticed, that being the case so would a patient.

Now you say your tremor only appears when your relaxing, so i assume you were relaxing when the GP  noticed ?

Surely going the GMC route is going to add to the stress, especially the bad feeling that will follow in such a small working enviroment . Would it not be better to resolve what you percieve to be a problem within the GP practise ?

At the very least try the local route first ?

One aspect I dont quite understand is the fact that you had not told your employer, how then have they breached your confidentiality ?

They breached my confidentiality by raising it with a colleague who knew and coersing her into giving information which they led her to believe i had told them, which i had not, the person in question them decided to tell all of the others



Hi, I'm sorry but i dont see how anyone breached confidentiality as you have not told anyone (in confidence or otherwise).  What has happened is someone has noticed something and they have talked about it. If i came to work in odd socks it might get noticed and they might talk about it - its not a breach of confidentialy unless i say to someone that i have odd socks on and ask them not to tell anyone and they do. Even then i cant stop others from noticing and talking about it.

You have an illness with symptoms that at times are obvious - you cant stop people observing!




Actually I think it is a breach of confidentiality.

Discretion being the name of the game. The practice manager 'overheard' a conversation. The practice manager should not then have taken this information to someone else.

If she/he had concerns then go to the people she had overheard it from and explain concerns, but you don't go to someone else. That's called gossip. (Eh, Doctor X thinks so and so might have...aids, syphilis, ...whatever) It's not done.

That is, of course, if the situation would require the intervention of the practice manager - perhaps the GPs concerned would rather have spoken to the nurse/OP first?

There's too little discretion in these situations today - I'm a patient who has been on the receiving end and it's no fun and it causes a lot of trouble.

With regard to affecting the patient's ability to do the job - well, there are surgeons with Parkinson's and we don't know when the GP noticed the tremor, it could have been in a coffee break.

Golden rule - they should speak to the person they have the concerns about 'first' and give them the opportunity to explain if they should wish and/or if the situation necessitates it.




it's only my opinion, but I kind of agree too. I've also struggled with the whole issue of telling people at work, guess I'd like to have control over at least one aspect of this. My office is also a hot bed of gossip and indiscretion but the reality is that people will notice so I'm off to talk to my boss tomorrow, then I guess I'll see what happens. You can't stop people noticing and speculating, but the practice manager should have come to you first; actually the person who noticed should have spoken to you first. Hope you've managed to move forward with this.

i would not worry about just think your pd symptoms have not troubled you for 8yrs ! hope it continues be happy & proud & take each day as it comes smiley


I thought that everybody has the right to keep their business private and especially in places of care, such as hospitals and  GP surgeries.  It states in my contract that I must make sure that everyone is given the right to their confidentiality. 

At the hospital that I work in, we are obliged to take a test annually to prove we know what to if confidentiality is broken.  

For myself, when I was diagnosed, I felt I wanted to tell my colleagues what was going on and one person I worked with said to me that he already knew just by the way I was walking.   Another asked me if I was leaving my job but it's taken 14 years down the line to actually get me to retire.

It's much easier to cope with if you have a sympathetic line manager.

All best wishes




  I do think that a unfortunate breach has occured here,but it has so  gather everyone together and explain your situation re PD, and your dissapointment at the unproffesional way your colleauges have Gossiped about what may or may not have been wrong with you., then put it behind you , you have a storm approaching and your priorities will change.

                                 I wish you a great Christmas and New Year            FED

Oh dear, there's always more than one side to things isn't there.  Well done on apparently managing your symptoms for so long.  You're seeing a specialist every 4 months but taking no meds, presumably after a GP referral.  Is that where the 'breach' is directed as your employer have effectively been told but are now openly discussing it because you don't want to?

If you drive, have you told the DVLA and insurance company.  Do your family know?  

I suspect others have noticed for years but haven't said as you're possibly seen as a very private person. It may be that the talk has started to be open so you hear it because others now have real concerns for the patients.

Once I told everyone of my diagnosis and the typical symptoms, I was overwhelmed by the support with a common theme of 'we knew something was very wrong, but didn't know how we could help.

I may be completely off the mark with the above but I was feeling for you when I read the replies above and also as I was typing my own.   

Take care.

Apologies for not noticing the dates of all these posts.  I got caught up in the replies.


How are things now?


I would strongly advise tasking advice from the parkinson's helpline it would be good to have a second opinion of were you stand and if they feel you have suffered a breach of confidentilality plus also if you start worrying about an unresolved problem it could make your Parkinson symptoms worse it does with me it always increases my tremor. It is also worth mentioning this problem to your neurologist for advice as well good luck with this and come back and let us know how you get on.................Paul