If you feel like a friend or relative is going through a crisis, or needs help and is not seeking it, it can be useful to talk to someone else. If you would like medical advice, we will help you to the best of our ability. However if you want to discuss another patient, they would have to formally agree to this.
If you have consent
Your friend or relative can give their GP permission, either verbally or in writing, to discuss their health with you. If you have consent, you can speak to your friend or relative’s GP about their health.
If you don’t have consent
You can raise concerns about your friend or relative’s health with their GP without their consent, but because of patient confidentiality, the GP won’t be able to discuss any details.
A GP can only intervene if a friend or relative needs treatment under the Mental Health Act (1983). This act allows some people with mental health problems to be compulsorily detained in a psychiatric hospital. The Directgov website has more information about mental health and the Mental Health Act (1983).
However, if you agree, the GP may be willing to tell your friend or relative that you’re concerned about them and may suggest including you in some of the discussions.
You can speak to your own GP about someone else’s health, but they won't be able to discuss a specific case. Although your GP could help you understand how to provide support, it may be quicker and easier to get information elsewhere.
There are some useful links provided by the NHS available here.
The YSJ Counselling service may also be able to help both you and the friend or relative.