Written answers

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Photo of Seán FlemingSeán Fleming (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

To ask the Minister for Health if the medical records of a person (details supplied) in County Laois regarding all their treatment in Portlaoise General Hospital will be made available to them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57608/12]

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Dublin North, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

It is not possible to comment on the release of specific records. Each case must be dealt with individually and each officer making a decision whether to release, not release or partially release records must make the decision based on the specific record set and specific relevant circumstances.

In general, the Freedom of Information Acts 1997 and 2003 enable an individual to request access to records held by a public body as named in the schedule to the legislation. Access may be granted subject to conditions set out in the legislation. For personal records, as this case would seem to involve, there is no fee for an individual seeking access to their own records, although there may be administrative charges. In the case of medical records, an individual requesting access to their medical records may be asked to nominate a health professional to whom the records will be released in the first instance. This nominated individual should have the expertise to interpret and explain the records to the requester.

Similarly, the Data Protection Acts, 1988 and 2003 provide for access to personal information, again subject to conditions in the legislation. This legislation, however, concerns itself more with protection of data and the length of time that data can be held.

An individual record holder, in this case Portlaoise General Hospital, is responsible for the maintenance of its own records and for decisions in relation to release, non-release or partial release of those records. In all cases, reasons for a decision not to release or to partially release must accompany the decision.

In 2007, the HSE published a National Code of Practice for Healthcare Records Management, providing guidelines for hospitals in relation to the management of their healthcare records. This code of practice can be accessed on line at:.

In relation to the specific query raised by the Deputy, as this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.