Fuming!! My employer has just told me I'm pregnant!!

Hi, does anyone have any experience of a serious breach of patient confidentiality by GP Surgery? Don't know what to do! I was sent off work by my employer in May after I was told that there was no room for someone who was at 110% at their game. While I was off I became pregnant and told my GP expressly that I did not want my employer to know. My employer requested a medical update on my adhesions when I returned to work 3 weeks ago. The general manager called me today to confirm that I was pregnant!! She had been told this morning by my line manager who had been sent the letter provided by my GP from our HR department!!! I've called my surgery and they insist they didn't mention the pregnancy in my report! I'm angry and upset and really anxious about what will happen when I go into the office tomorrow as I don't know who else has been told. I'm only 13.5wks and wanted to keep it secret until 16-20 depending on bump. I can't stop crying.

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  • That is disgusting, id demand a copy of the report sent (ask both HR and the surgery incase they change it) and report the GP to tge GMC. Its easy to say, but try keep calm, stress is no good for you or bump! Xx

  • Hi letsbe, thanks, I'm trying to keep calm. The horse has bolted so I'm going to have to deal with it. I was having a bad day anyway. The GP is adamant her letter didn't contain anything. She's preparing me a copy. I've just contacted my line manager to inform him that I know, requesting a copy of my medical report in his possession - who gave it to him and who else he's discussed my situation with. I never expected this at all and it's quite knocked my confidence for six. I've been feeling disempowered for a while, with my role reduced etc without my control but just kept concentrating on bigger picture to get over pain. And now this. I might as well be 10 years old instead of a professional woman with 25 years experience under her belt. Rant rant rant (sorry).

  • Just a thought but is it possible that your boss has called your bluff, that the GP didn't reveal anything. I had a visible bump by 8 weeks due to bloating and that fact that I'm quite petite. If so, they are in real trouble legally I think. Regardless of how they found out though, I still think they can't ask you that.

    I'd go to your local Citizens Advice Bureau for some legal advice. I had a similar situation (it was the mother of my boss who asked) and my understanding is that it isn't legal for an employer to ask. It was before 12 weeks for me and I had previously had a miscarriage just before the 12 week mark, so I didn't want anyone to know until after then. You need to tell your employer at around the 21 week stage, when you'll be given a MATB1 and then you have the legal obligation to tell your employer but not before. Try and write everything down while you remember, just in case you need to take it further.

    I hope this is sorted quickly and smoothly for you so you can get back to enjoying your pregnancy fully :)

  • I've seen the letter now. It's from my consultant! 3 pages long, no holes barred description of my care for the last 2 years including my pregnancy and prognosis. Devastated.

  • I'm so sorry to hear that you're going though this and how it's affecting you. I think the suggestions to report and to go to the C.A.B are good ones. Have your managers told anybody else? Also, can you change GP surgeries? X

  • Surely they are absolutely not allowed to discuss a patient with anybody other than the patient themselves!!!! This is utterly abhorrent behaviour displayed by the consultant and is completely unethical. You need to make a complaint....though I know that doesn't help much with the short term situation you face with work. I don't think work can legally do anything though regarding your pregnancy especially given the way they obtained the information. I'm outraged for you x

  • This May or may not help you. Do you remember signing a medical request form from your employer, either when you started in post or when you went on sick leave. If you did this would have been sent to the consultant along with a letter of request. However if you didn't, then the employer has no legal consent to ask for that information and the consultant should not have given that information out without your written consent. This you can take further with HR and hospital.

    Congratulations on your pregnancy!

  • Oh, hopeful! Im so angry for you! Follow this link to the GMC website - gmc-uk.org/mobile/AtoZ/112/...

    lots of info abouy confidentiality and what to to if you have had a breach.

    They take things very seriously! :D

    Citizens Advice would be a good way to go too. The more advice you can get the better, gather your evidence. Did the copy you have seen come from work or doctors? You should try to obtain a copy form both to check they are both telling the truth.

    an emoloyer cannot ask an employee if the are pregnant, you have no obligation to tell them until you are much furter along. Both parties seem to be in the wrong. You must feel so let down. Hope this info helps you. Keep us updated xx

  • I'm so sorry that you're having to deal with all this stress, at a time when you really don't need it. I would visit the CAB, they can give you free advice because I can see two potential cases here. 1-the consultant shouldn't have said anything (if you requested the information to be confidential then surely a note should have been added to your file by the GP to prevent this). 2-Your employer can't ask you before 21 weeks, even if they know. If they start to get difficult with you, that's handy to know. Keep a diary of work events from this point on just in case you need to take any further action.

    There is one bit of good news in all this I think. At least your employer admitted they know. They could have sat on the letter and come up with a completely unrelated excuse to push you out (should they want to ), so hopefully that bodes well for them treating you fairly. It also means that they have no excuse to not pay you for your visits to the doctor/hospital for pregnancy related care. So your 16 week midwife visit, 20 week scan etc can be attended during work hours and you will be entitled to the pay you would be earning.

    I really hope that your boss was just not very legally savvy and didn't realise they can't ask. From a company's point of view, maybe they were just getting their "ducks in a row" and thinking about the need to arrange cover for you when you need it, looking at your job description and thinking about adjustments they can make to enable you to continue working for as long as you'd like, not to mention maternity cover.

    Congratultions on your pregnancy, and I hope this gets sorted quickly for you.

  • Hi Ladies, thank you so much for your support and kind words. I've calmed down now for the sake of the baby. The horse has bolted so I thought it best to concentrate on what I can influence. I have complained to the hospital dept concerned yesterday. My consultant is back from holiday today. When I started the return to work process I was told by my line manager that HR would be contacting both my GP and my Consultant. I was given two weeks to prepare my plan and in this time I saw both my GP and my Consultant in person, gave them my plan for approval and confirmed with their agreement that the pregnancy would be kept confidential. I trusted the Consultant because he'd already gone to great lengths to supress fertility info in previous letters provided to my employer for my two ops. When the gen manager called me to tell me she'd been told by my line manager that I was pregnant she said it was my GP who spilled the beans. My poor GP - I went mad and she's only new and promised me that she hadn't, that she would have never given the info without my consent. Her letter was perfect and relevant only to what my employer needed to know as agreed. My consultant on the other hand detailed everything, even the bits he'd concealed before. It's left me in a real spot because I wouldn't be pregnant now without his exceptional care and I've always respected him and may need him during this pregnancy. Equally my line manager should not have told the gen manager without my consent but who wants to make an enemy of their boss, especially when you need every penny you can get with a baby on the way? I've requested that the letter be destroyed by HR and I've requested an apology and that a new letter be provided by the Consultant. I'll see what happens from here and get some advice as indicated. I'm aware I can't allow myself to get upset and at least in this way I can attempt to limit the damage and control the situation. Amazing how many people excuse this behaviour by saying "they're only doing it for your own good" - I have to keep reminding them I'm not 10 nor have I been sectioned under the Mental Health Act. I'm only pregnant with a disability.

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