Some medical files are needed to teach student clinicians about rare cases; the data is anonymised and your express consent would be required.
Some medical research will involve patients directly e.g. Taking part in clinical trials, where the circumstances will be fully explained and the patient’s consent required. If no consent is given then they are excluded from the trial.
Other research only requires access to medical statistics and can greatly improve our understanding of health and how to treat patients more effectively. Generally researchers only need information about groups of people e.g. An age group or a specific disease, so that no individual information is apparent. In some cases they need individual records but, whenever possible, these are provided in an anonymised form. If researchers need access to individual medical files then we will contact patients first for their consent. Researchers must first present their case before an Ethics Committee to ensure that the research is appropriate and worthwhile. Rarely it may not be practical (or even possible) to contact individuals for their consent. In this case the researchers must justify their case before a Confidentiality Committee.