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This paper discusses confidentiality as a routine issue of concern to British general practitioners participating in a qualitative study as well as in contemporaneous practice literature. While keen to reflect on routine issues, such as confidentiality, participants who professed a lack of expertise in medical ethics also perceived reluctance or inability to access educational resources or ethics support. Such lack of ability might include a perception of non-entitlement to access advice and support, a fear of criticism, or simply that resources fail to be advertised. Participants' insights are set alongside a concurrent debate in the professional literature over whether problems with maintaining confidentiality should be rigorously discussed in a public forum. A preliminary suggestion is that confidentiality may be emblematic of the negotiation between academic and professional ethics.

Original publication




Journal article


Clinical Ethics

Publication Date





186 - 190