Rights and Responsibilities

Legal and ethical framework

In Québec, you can provide health care, or pursue training to do so, while being a blood-borne infection carrier (HIV, HBV, or HCV) provided you have your situation assessed by SERTIH and follow the recommendations as approved by your professional order or educational institution.

Several organizations are responsible for public protection in situations where a caregiver’s health status may pose a risk. However, as a member of a professional order, you hold the primary responsibility. Your code of ethics states that you must refrain from practicing in circumstances or states that are liable to compromise the quality of your acts.

Furthermore, the Act Respecting Health Services and Social Services  establishes an organizational structure of resources designed to “ensure users the safe provision of health services and social services” (section 2). This law also establishes the obligation to report any incident or accident as soon as possible after becoming aware of it (section 233.1).

Finally, article 54 of the Professional Code  states that: “Every professional must refrain from practicing his profession or performing certain professional acts to the extent that his state of health is an obstacle thereto.”

SERTIH complements these public protection mechanisms.

Confidentiality and protection of privacy

All confidential information, including medical information collected by SERTIH, is stored in a manner to ensure the security of paper and electronic files. The Act Respecting the Institut national de santé publique du Québec  includes provisions to protect the confidentiality of these files, similarly to the Act Respecting Health Services and Social Services that include provisions to protect the confidentiality of user files.

Each caregiver’s file is given a reference number. Access to all nominal information within INSPQ is restricted to INSPQ-designated individuals within SERTIH. All individuals within INSPQ having access to confidential information must take an oath not to disclose or communicate the information unless duly authorized to do so.

Assessment committee members are not informed of the identity of the caregivers being assessed.

Outside the INSPQ, only individuals who are responsible for implementing the recommendations issued by SERTIH (members of professional orders, educational institutions, public health departments, or health care institutions) will have access to nominative information, and this access is restricted solely to the information required to carry out their respective mandates.

Voluntary participation and right to withdraw

Your participation is voluntary and requires your informed consent. You are free to withdraw at any time.

You must also be aware of your responsibilities with respect to the risks of transmitting your blood-borne infection in the course of your practice or training. In addition, you must respect your code of ethics, which states that you must refrain from practising in circumstances or states likely to compromise the quality of your acts.

If SERTIH, the assessment committee, or your attending physician perceives a threat to public health, even if you withdraw from the assessment process, the situation will be reported to the regional director of public health, who will decide on the appropriate measures in accordance with the law.

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