Confidentiality, privacy and the reporting by health professionals of a patient?s unfitness to drive: legal dilemmas
The NRTC is currently revising the Medical Examinations of Commercial Vehicle Drivers1 with the intention of combining it with Assessing Fitness to Drive: guidelines and standards for health professionals in Australia2. One of the issues raised in this review concerns the potential liability of a health professional who reports to the driver licensing authority that a patient whom she or he has assessed is medically unfit to drive. This paper will address laws relating to the issues of confidentiality and privacy, as well as the duty to report. Examples will be drawn from various jurisdictions. Further exposition of the law will be provided through the use of case studies, which are designed to illustrate the application of particular aspects of the law to relevant fact situations.