Disclosing medical test results to patients: MOH replies

Disclosing medical test results to patients: MOH replies

Mrs Nadia Taylor commented that patients should be informed of their medical test results by their doctors ("Let doctors break blood test results to patients"; last Tuesday).

As a standard procedure in our public health investigations, Ministry of Health officers will contact patients only after they have been apprised by their doctors beforehand of their diagnoses.

This is strictly adhered to as far as possible. However, this has to be balanced with public health considerations.

The public health urgency in certain situations may require us to contact patients as soon as possible, in order to carry out disease control measures expediently.

Mrs Taylor was contacted on Nov 8 as part of public health investigations under the Infectious Diseases Act, to facilitate the implementation of measures to control the spread of chikungunya.

In such situations, we seek and greatly appreciate the patience, understanding and cooperation of patients and their doctors in expediting our public health investigations, including taking the time to answer pertinent questions that may be perceived as intrusive.

We assure them that the confidentiality of all information shared is protected under the Act.

We thank Mrs Taylor for her feedback, which is useful in our ongoing review of processes to better ensure that patients are informed of their diagnoses by their doctors prior to any contact we make for public health investigations.

Philip Sim

Deputy Director, Corporate Communications

Ministry of Health

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.

This website is best viewed using the latest versions of web browsers.