Future Healthcare

Patient is fixated with royal family

Business Dilemmas

Kathryn Leask

A doctor’s involvement with the Fixed Threat Assessment Centre sparks an unusual dilemma. Dr Kathryn Leask gives her response





Dilemma 1

Must I reveal my patient’s data? 

Buckingham Palace: to where a patient has been sending letters to the royal family

QI am a psychiatrist and have been contacted by the Fixed Threat Assessment Centre in London. They have forwarded letters to me that a patient of mine has been sending to a member of the royal family. 

These letters are not threatening but they do suggest the patient has an unnatural fixation and I can understand why there is concern about the content. I am aware the patient does have some mental health problems, but I do not believe he is a physical danger to anyone. 

He appears to be sending letters at least once a week. They have asked me for information about my patient’s mental health.  

In view of the nature of the letters and the importance of the recipient, am I obliged to disclose information without the patient’s consent?