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Worcestershire GP raises alert over suspected terrorist

GP is one of several in Worcestershire who have had suspicions about patients

Ingrid Torjesen

Tuesday, 03 December 2013

A GP in Worcestershire has contacted Special Branch to discuss concerns about a patient being a terrorist, the local medical committee has revealed.

Worcestershire LMC has also said that the case is not an isolated one. “There have been issues in Worcestershire where GPs have had suspicions about the possible conduct of some of their patients,” the LMC confirmed.

The Medical Defence Union said that GPs have a legal duty to disclose information about patients they suspect of being involved in terrorism.

Dr Udvitha Nandasoma, MDU medico-legal adviser, said that under section 38B of the Terrorism Act 2000 it is a criminal offence for any person to fail to disclose information to the police “as soon as is reasonably practicable” which he/she knows or believes will be “of material assistance in preventing the commission by another person of an act of terrorism, or in securing the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of another person, in the UK, for an offence involving the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism.”

“The GMC's ethical guidance recognises that doctors may sometimes be justified in disclosing information about patients in the public interest to assist in the prevention, detection or prosecution of serious crime, particularly where violence is involved,” he said.

The Office for Security and Counter Terrorism in the Home Office has developed the Prevent Strategy to support the identification of people involved in terrorism or vulnerable to radicalisation.

The strategy says: “There are clearly many opportunities for doctors, nurses and other staff to help protect people from radicalisation. The key challenge is to ensure that healthcare workers can identify the signs that someone is vulnerable to radicalisation, interpret those signs correctly and access the relevant support.”

The strategy compares preventing someone from becoming a terrorist or from supporting terrorism with doctors' duties to safeguard vulnerable patients in other areas such as child abuse or domestic violence.

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