25 JUNE 1948, Page 17


Snt,—Before joining the new Health Service the public should realise that the strict professional secrecy formerly observed between doctor and patient will not obtain in this service, for the doctors engaged in it will be compelled to keep accurate detailed records of all their patients' illnesses and to submit these periodically to the scrutiny of civil servants, male and female, of all grades. This is, from every point of view, undesirable, as record cards will contain the intimate details of all the physical results, often disastrous, of human faults and frailties, and the frequency of these is known only to members of the medical profession. Even after death these records will still exist in the archives of the Ministry. And this was, not so very long ago, a free country.—Yours, &c., W. LYLE.

Belmont Road, Belfast.

[This is an exaggeration. Doctors will, quite rightly, be required to keep such records as are necessary in the interests of the patient, but these will be entirely confidential and (apart from transit through the Executive Council office, in private) no one will see them except medical officers of the Ministry.—En., Spectator.]