If you are conducting your own research or audit based on your patients’ medical records, it is acceptable to do so without the patient’s consent, although as a matter of courtesy you should inform the patients concerned if it is feasible.
For studies involving outside researchers, any patient information you provide should be anonymised
For studies involving outside researchers, any patient information you provide should be anonymised. If it is necessary to include information that could be used to identify individual patients, you must first secure the patient’s express consent.
The only exception to this is the submission of patient information to the National Cancer Registry Board, which is permissible by law.
Box 11: Educational research
"Education and training of health professionals is essential to the provision of safe and effective healthcare. When patient information is to be used for education and training purposes, you should anonymise it as far as possible.
"Where anonymisation is not possible or appropriate, you should make patients aware that their identifiable information may be disclosed for such purposes. They should have the opportunity to object to disclosure of their information and any such objection must be respected.”
Medical Council, Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Medical Practitioners, para 30.3