Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Patient confidentiality and autonomy: how do we account for coercive control?
  1. C E Cohen1,
  2. R J Caswell2,3
  3. on behalf of the BASHH Sexual Violence Special Interest Group
  1. 1Department of HIV and GUM, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  2. 2Department of Sexual Health and HIV Medicine, University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK
  3. 3British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH)
  1. Correspondence to Dr RJ Caswell, Department of Sexual Health and HIV Medicine, University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Mindelsohn Way, Birmingham B15 2TH, UK; rachelcaswell{at}

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

October 2016 saw the launch of the BASHH Toolkit to assist routine enquiry on domestic abuse within sexual health.1 It is anticipated that many services nationally will have begun this process or may have reflected on the content of the toolkit to improve their enquiry and referral pathways.

We wish to draw clinician's attention to the new General Medical Council (GMC) guidance on confidentiality, which comes into effect on 25 April 2017.2 The guidance gives due consideration to issues of patient confidentiality and autonomy, however, we believe further understanding and consideration of coercive control is needed.

We remind clinicians that the foundations of good medical practise include making the care of your patient your first concern; taking prompt action if you think that patient safety, dignity or comfort is being compromised; protecting and promoting the health of patients and the public and supporting patients in caring for themselves to improve and maintain their health and autonomy.3 In the context of domestic abuse, widely …

View Full Text


  • Collaborators The views expressed are those of the authors alone with support of the BASHH Sexual Violence Special Interest Group.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.