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Medical Confidentiality and problems relating to files about Drivers


It's always been a fundamentally sacred principle that anything you tell your doctor or your priest is kept secret. Absolute confidentiality is supposed to be kept by doctors and priests.

There's a good reason for this. By keeping the personal matters of health and religion separate from the goings on in the world, there is no conflict of interest preventing you from discussing such matters with your trusted professional. As a result, the best personal administration to your affairs has been possible.

But there is an apparent threat to this sacred principle. Although throughout the centuries governments have felt a bit awkward torturing priests to get the info about you out of them, doctors have been put in a compromising position especially by the DVLA in the UK. DVLA = Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority. That is, the Big Brother government record office where info on drivers and cars is kept. If you live in the UK you may have noticed the scary campaign on tv commercials where they can seek out cars and punish the last known owners with a penalty as a judge / jury / executioner all in one.

The problem is that if you tell your doctor about things to do with your health, these personal matters can end up in your medical notes. These medical notes should be kept secret, but unfortunately the DVLA have got access to them.

(Yes, we know you can opt to refuse to release the information to them, but then they simply revoke your driving license, so in effect you are under pressure and have no choice).

I personally know several people who have medical conditions which they dare not tell their doctors. They'd rather risk dangers to their health than allow the DVLA to get to know. Sometimes the matters are not even things which might prejudice their driving license, but the people still dare not tell their doctors, just in case there is a hidden problem. In effect, people are living in fear, and the situation contravenes the spirit of the Hippocratic oath. The rule that the DVLA have legal access to your medical notes is in effect a way around the oath of confidentiality which doctors swear to.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not suggesting it's right to cheat and to deceive the DVLA by giving false information. If someone is not fit to drive, then they must be honest in declaring this. But it's a matter of personal conscience, not a matter for which the authorities should be able to spy on people's confidential medical records.

To take an analogy, I also think that domestic violence is wrong. But I would object to the government enforcing installation of CCTV cameras in your home in order to determine whether any domestic violence was going on.

As the Establishment has betrayed your human rights in the field of medical confidentiality, other things must also be watched out for. The important thing is: Keep a lookout for government attempts to trample on your human rights, and then blow the whistle on them BEFORE it happens! As a paranoid myself I feel I am justified in considering the behaviour of the Establishment to be sinister and devious. They might try to get away with other nasty oppressive things, but they are relying on apathy being on their side. They are assuming people to be already adequately brainwashed and incapable of putting up any fight or objection to state control of their lives.

Maybe we will see if their assumption about people is sadly true, or if people still have any spirit with which to bite back.

There is another case of betrayal of medical privacy and misuse of medical information: In Bahrain! This suggests the government of Bahrain to be so bad that the country may be in line to go the way of the Tunisia Revolution, with the government being overthrown.


Other stuff: Libertarian references, Human Rights, Misconceptions, Internet Freedom, and the evil of Microsoft Palladium, and Down with ID Cards

There is an update to this story. Within a year of publishing this interesting piece of philosophical comment on the Internet, I found that the DVLA revoked my driving licence. When this happened I guessed it was "cause and effect", where criticism of the system was dealt with by punishment. If this had been the case it would have been very poorly thought-out by the authorities, as such punishment would not endear them, would it?! However, it now turns out that there was a different explanation for what happened, and this is in some ways even more intriguing. It seems now it is... Devilment by Doctors

My apologies, DVLA. My suspicions that the driving licence revocation was a vengeful act by the DVLA were wrong.