Practical Guidance


Search through our expert guidance to help you to practise with confidence.

Who is allowed to obtain informed consent?

Which risks must patients be warned about?

When should the presence of a chaperone be considered?

When is the termination of the practitioner-patient relationship justified?

When do my professional duties towards a patient end?

When do my professional duties begin in an emergency situation?

When can personal information be disclosed for audit, research, or in journals or textbooks?

When can information be disclosed to others providing care?

When can information be disclosed for reasons other than treatment?

When can disclosures be made regarding potentially dangerous driving, operation of machinery or possession of a weapon?

When can disclosures be made in the public interest without the patient’s consent?

What steps should be taken to prevent unintentional disclosures?

What should I do where a patient temporarily regains capacity?

What should I do if I disagree with a patient’s decision?

What should I do if I believe my personal beliefs may affect professional conduct?

What should I do if a patient refuses to allow disclosure to other members of the healthcare team?

What should be done where the patient has fluctuating mental capacity?

What security measures should I put in place when collecting information?

What procedure should be used when the professional relationship needs to be ended?

What must I do if I suspect there has been a breach of security relating to personal information?

What is the position where patients request their personal information?

What is the position where patients request correction of their personal information?

What is the position where my employees or other persons deal with personal information?

What is the position where I focus on the patient and their care without obligations to a third party?

What is my position as an expert examiner?

What is “special personal information”?

What is an “advance decision” and how could it be relevant to my practice?

What can be done where it is impractical for the practitioner providing the treatment to obtain informed consent?

What are the types of practitioner-patient relationship in modern medicine?

What are the types of circumstances where consent may not be available?

What are the rules regarding information about a patient’s health or sex life?

What are the rules regarding a patient’s biometric information?

What are the potential consequences of failing to obtain informed consent?

What are the patients’ duties in terms of the HPCSA Guidelines?

What are the key principles of confidentiality?

What are the key principles of assessing the mental capacity of a patient to provide informed consent?

What are the key principles governing the breakdown of the practitioner-patient relationship?

What are the key points regarding relationships which begin when a contract is signed?

What are the duties of the person to whom responsibility to obtain informed consent has been delegated?

What are the duties of the Information Officer?

What are patients’ duties in terms of the National Health Act?

What are my duties when I have dual obligations to my patient and a third party such as an insurance company?

What are my duties when a third party processes information for me?

What are my duties to comply with the POPI Act?

What about assessing capacity during lengthy treatment?

Treating mentally incapacitated patients without a proxy

The fundamentals of informed consent

The changing nature of the practitioner-patient relationship

Texting appointment reminders to patients

Talking to patients about religious beliefs

Social media and the practitioner-patient relationship

Social media and patient confidentiality

Social media and conflicts of interest

Should I try to collect information directly from the patient?

Sharing information with those close to the patient

Precautions when using social media

POPI: Registration of information officer

POPI: Checklist of the duties of Information Officer

Patients who lack capacity to consent

Particular precautions in close communities

Obligations in respect of social media

Objection to the processing of personal information

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Issues relating to confidentiality

Is it unprofessional conduct to date a former patient?

Introduction to communicating with patients

Information which must be provided to patients

How should the “best interests” of a patient be assessed?

How should I manage the situation when things go wrong?

How should I manage patients who do not co-operate or continue with treatment?

How should I communicate and manage test results?

How should I assess whether the patient will attach significance to the risk?

How should I assess the mental capacity of patients to make valid decisions?

How do patients’ personal beliefs affect medical practice?

How can I observe my personal beliefs within my professional duties?

Examples of disclosures in the public interest

Does POPI apply to my practice or organisation?

Disclosure where health practitioners have dual responsibilities

Disclosure after a patient’s death

Covert medication and patients with fluctuating mental capacity

Communicating with patients who have fluctuating mental capacity

Circumstances where protection is necessary

Children and the capacity to consent to treatment

Checklist: Assessing “best interests”

Caring for healthcare practitioners

Can the duty to obtain informed consent be delegated?

Can patients refuse treatment if their decision could result in their harm or death?

Can patients agree in advance to be given medication without their knowledge?

Can I have professional duties towards a patient without a contract?

Can I give secret medication to patients with capacity to consent?

Can I delegate the duty to obtain informed consent?

Authorisation of information officer

Are there specific circumstances where information about a patient’s religion or race can be dealt with?

Are there circumstances in which I can collect “special personal information” from a patient?

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