Risks to Client Confidentiality when Communicating Health Information to Blind and Partially Sighted Persons

Mhairi Thurston, Allen Thurston


Purpose: This research was carried out to give a more accurate picture of the particular needs of the blind and partially sighted people living in Scotland. It explores the risks to client confidentiality if information is not provided in accessible formats.

Method: Data were gathered from a survey of 228 blind and partially sighted persons in 15 Health Authorities across Scotland. The survey reported NHS clients’ experiences of receiving health information in accessible reading formats.

Results: The data indicated that about 90% of blind and partially sighted persons did not receive communications from various NHS health departments in a format that they could read by themselves.

Conclusions: The implications for client privacy, confidentiality and the wider impact on life and healthcare have been highlighted. The implications for professional ethical medical practice and for public policy are discussed, and recommendations for improved practice are made.

doi 10.5463/DCID.v24i1.182


Patient confidentiality; blind and partially sighted patients; NHS; accessible reading formats; communication with patients

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5463/dcid.v24i1.182

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