Tuesday, October 31, 2006

ICO ruling on deceased patient’s records

Press release from the ICO:

Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust right to refuse access to patient’s records under FOI

Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust was right to refuse the disclosure of a deceased patient’s records under the Freedom of Information Act, the Information Commissioner has ruled.

The Trust refused the request for information relating to the health records of a deceased individual on the grounds that a duty of confidence was owed to the deceased and that this should survive the person’s death (as covered under Section 41 of the Act). The Commissioner also ruled that some of the requested information was subject to legal professional privilege (as covered under Section 42 of the Act).

The Freedom of Information Act is not intended to allow people to gain access to private, sensitive information about other individuals.

Read the Commissioner’s full decision notice on this case

1 comment:

PatientGuard said...

I feel bound to say something about this case since I came a from a background of being traumatically split up from my immediate genetic family and was lucky enough to be able to track down at least some records which showed my real mom and dad's tracks in history which helped me place them and the reasons for why I have had a permanent flashback condition and states across my life ..

Its a shame law could potentially get in the way of sense because records of one's parents can be a very useful way to fill in major cognitive gaps of understanding of who they were .. I would not advocate for access to relatives records in all cases but I happen to think there is human rights angle here for some areas of human experience that has become the province of lawyer's determinations rather than good human sense ..

Typical of Britain really - it bureacratises peoples rights away rather than having a charter of human rights to which appeal might be made in a mediative type way that is more human and does not involve the high and mighty ...