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31 Oct 2017 1 Respondent
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By Vanessa Peutherer
Boss (10302 XP)
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"Tricky Affair" Portfolio Building - ACCOUNTABILITY - CODES AND CONFIDENTIALITY

"Tricky Affair" Portfolio Building - ACCOUNTABILITY - CODES AND CONFIDENTIALITY

Codes and Confidentiality

Consider the following complex themes concerning patient confidentiality:

John, aged 55yrs, is in your care and has developed severe chest pain, which he tells you feels like a very severe episode of angina; from which he has suffered for the last 18 months. His wife has accompanied him to your department and is obviously extremely concerned for her husbands’ health, telling you he has suffered a previous myocardial infarction (heart attack). You have contacted the ambulance service, who are on their way but may be up to 30 minutes.


As John's wife leaves to make a phone call to organise childcare, John asks if you would keep his wife away whilst he makes a phone call of his own. However, he breaks down in tears and seems quite inconsolable; he has been unable to receive a signal to his phone and thus can’t make his call. It transpires that he has been having an affair with a woman named Helen for the past five years. Helen knows that he is married with two teenage children but John’s family have no knowledge of the affair. John is desperate to see Helen and asks you to contact her and let her know he wants her to come in, she only lives a few minutes away. In making his request he also expects that you will divert his wife so she remains unaware, and impresses upon you his desire that no one else should be told of the situation.

John is very distressed and you are concerned about the effect of the situation on his health.

Responding to this activity will enable your engagement and responses to be fed directly into your e-portfolio, to demonstrate evidence of reflective activity and your ability to analyse and apply accountability knowledge and codes of practice to example scenarios.

Please read the following document before responding and refer to your own professional codes of practice.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/confidentiality-nhs-code-of-practice