Tuesday, October 02, 2007

FOI and medical records of the deceased

In Mrs P Bluck v Information Commissioner and Epsom and St Helier University NHS Trust, the Information Tribunal has ruled that the medical records of a deceased person are exempt under section 41 (breach of confidence) of the FOI Act.
"...we conclude that a duty of confidence is capable of surviving the death of the confider and that in the circumstances of this case it does survive."
"We have concluded, therefore, that the Trust would breach the duty of confidence owed to Karen Davies if it disclosed the Medical Records other than under the terms of the FOIA and that the breach would be actionable by the personal representatives of Karen Davies. Accordingly the Medical Records constitute exempt information for the purposes of FOIA section 41 and should not be disclosed to the Appellant."
The Tribunal also concluded that Article 8 of the European Convention on Europe Rights did not amount to a statutory prohibtion on disclosure under section 44 of the FOI Act.

Read the full decision (Pdf)

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