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Management of medical confidentiality in English professional football clubs : some ethical problems and issues.

Roderick, M. J. and Waddington, I. (2002) 'Management of medical confidentiality in English professional football clubs : some ethical problems and issues.', British journal of sports medicine., 36 (2). pp. 118-123.


Objective: To examine the ways in which confidential matters are dealt with in the context of the relationship between the club doctor (or physiotherapist) and the player as patient in English professional football clubs. Methods: Semistructured tape recorded interviews with 12 club doctors, 10 club physiotherapists, and 27 current and former players. A questionnaire was also sent to 90 club doctors; 58 were returned. Results: There is among club doctors and physiotherapists no commonly held code of ethics governing how much and what kind of information about players may properly be passed on to managers; associated with this, there is considerable variation from one club to another in terms of the amount and kind of information passed on to managers. In some clubs, medical staff attempt to operate more or less on the basis of the rules governing confidentiality that apply in general practice, but in other clubs, medical staff are more ready to pass on personal information about players. In some situations, this raises serious ethical questions. Conclusions: Guidelines dealing with confidentiality in practitioner-patient relationships in medical practice have long been available and have recently been restated, specifically in relation to the practice of sports medicine, by the British Olympic Association, the British Medical Association, and the Football Association. This is a welcome first step. However, if the guidelines are to have an impact on practice, detailed consideration needs to be given to ensuring their effective implementation; if this is to be achieved, consideration also needs to be given to identifying those aspects of the culture and organisation of professional football clubs that may hinder the full and effective implementation of those guidelines.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Confidentiality, Football clubs, Doctors, Physiotherapists.
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Publisher statement:© 2002 British Journal of Sports Medicine
Record Created:04 Aug 2008
Last Modified:17 Aug 2011 09:44

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