We’ve joined with the British Psychological Society (BPS) to brief Peers on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which is currently going through Parliament.

Our joint briefing has been sent to Peers ahead of seven days of committee consideration of the Bill in the House of Lords, which is due to start on Wednesday.

In it, we’ve urged the Government to amend the Bill in order to withdraw Clauses 9, 15 and 16 in Chapter 1 which would afford police the power to override the duty of medical confidentiality.

There’s already a system in place which allows police to access confidential information in the exceptional circumstances where this is necessary for public safety, the joint briefing said.

As well as working with BPS on the briefing, we’ve worked closely with the British Medical Association (BMA) to coordinate our responses and strengthen our voices in recognition that this issue is bigger than counselling and psychotherapy.

Martin Bell, our Head of Policy and Public Affairs, said: “Confidentiality lies at the heart of the therapeutic process and we know that many of our members share our concerns about the Bill falling short of well-established ethical criteria for the sharing of confidential health information.

“Patients must feel safe that they can speak openly about their issues, knowing that this information will be kept safe and private.

“The common law of duty of confidentiality upholds the trust of patients in health services, which can be extremely hard to gain. Hence, to compromise it would compromise the health of patients and put them at risk of further harm.”