Professional secret

Professional secrecy represents the foundation of the patient-caregiver relationship . It helps establish and maintain the trust essential to good patient care.

Established in the interest of the patient, it helps to protect their privacy.

Experienced by caregivers as a moral obligation , professional secrecy is also:

  • a legal obligation posed by article L. 1110-4 of the Public Health Code (Personal Rights): “Any person cared for by a professional, an establishment, a health network or any other organization participating in prevention and care has the right to respect for his private life and the secrecy of information concerning him. »
  • a ethical obligation set out in article R. 4312 of the same code: “Professional secrecy is binding on all nurses... under the conditions provided for by law. »

The secret covers, not only what was entrusted to the caregiver, but also what he has seen, read, heard, noted or understood.

The secret may be shared in the interest of the patient and under certain conditions.

Article L. 1110-4 provides, in paragraph 2, that a professional can exchange with one or more identified professionals, information relating to the same person in care, when they participate in his or her care, if these information is strictly necessary for the coordination or continuity of care, prevention or its medico-social and social monitoring.

The same applies when these professionals belong to the same care team, concerning the same person and if the information is strictly necessary for the coordination or continuity of care or medico-social or social monitoring.

This information is deemed to be entrusted by the patient to the entire team.

Sources : 

  • Health law and medical law factsheets, Stéphane Elshoud, Ellipses editions, 2017
  • National Order of Nurses/ DJ/ 03-2011