Skip to main content

Table 3 Australian Federal and NSW State guidelines on the use and disclosure of genetic information to a patient’s relatives for health professionals and theoretical and clinical application of the Guidelines

From: Disclosure to genetic relatives without consent – Australian genetic professionals’ awareness of the health privacy law

1Use or disclosure of genetic information without consent may proceed only when the authorising medical practitioner has a reasonable belief that this is necessary to lessen or prevent a serious threat to the life, health or safety of a genetic relative.10a1419411A2494
New South Wales Health, 2014, p. 510c1761412A2665
2Specific ethical considerations must be taken into account when making a decision about whether or not to use or disclose genetic information without consent.10e3403    
3Reasonable steps must be taken to obtain the consent of the patient or his or her authorised representative to use or disclose genetic information.10e       
4The authorising medical practitioner should have a significant role in the care of the patient and sufficient knowledge of the patient’s condition and its genetic basis to take responsibility for decision-making about use or disclosure.10b28146    
5Prior to any decision concerning use or disclosure, the authorising medical practitioner must discuss the case with other health practitioners with appropriate expertise to assess fully the specific situation.10b24211    
6Where practicable, the identity of the patient should not be apparent or readily ascertainable in the course of inter-professional communication.10j3115    
7Disclosure to genetic relatives should be limited to genetic information that is necessary for communicating the increased risk and should avoid identifying the patient or conveying that there was no consent for the disclosure.10i3601    
8Disclosure of genetic information without consent should generally be limited to relatives no further removed than third degree relatives.10f2548    
9All stages of the process must be fully documented, including how the decision to use or disclose without consent was made.10m3601