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Medical disclosure curbed in BMA-ABI agreement

The British Medical Association has agreed new guidance with the ABI limiting the amount of sensitive information that doctors can disclose to insurers on subjects such as sexual health.

Doctors will no longer be required to provide details of all aspects of their patients&#39 sexual history as this could be an obstacle for people considering HIV testing. Sexually transmitted diseases, even if multiple episodes, would not have to be disclosed unless there are long-term implications.

For the first time, people will be able to read reports prepared about them by independent doctors.

The ABI and BMA are to conduct further discussions to review the format of the general practioner&#39s report.

Insurers will only be allowed to get further information following a death if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that relevant information has been withheld.

BMA ethics committee chairman Dr Michael Wilks says: “Doctors are only experts in clinical matters yet insurance companies often ask us about lifestyle issues such as sexual behaviour or drug use. These guidelines are important, as they set out exactly how much information doctors can and should reveal.”

The ABI welcomes the development as an important breakthrough.

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