Thursday, 19 November 2015
Department of Health
193. To ask the Minister for Health if he is aware of the Bara judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union delivered last month (details supplied); if the information in any of the databases assembled and processed by his Department for the administration of the health identifiers scheme was gathered using personal data previously collected and held by the State for a different purpose; if persons whose personal data was gathered in such manner have been notified of the transfer of their data to the administration of the health identifiers scheme; if not, is it his opinion that all such databases are now illegal in view of the Bara judgment; what measures he proposes to address this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41112/15]
199. To ask the Minister for Health for details of all instances from 1 January 2000 to 2015 to date where legislation introduced by him or on his behalf, which is enacted and still in force, contains a provision amending the Data Protection Acts to allow for the transfer of personal or other data collected, retained and processed by the State for a particular purpose towards another specific purpose, in tabular form; the financial cost of creating and administering such databases, by case; the projected financial cost for databases not yet complete; the specific legislative provision which enabled such data transfers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41139/15]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 193 and 199 together.
I am aware of the Bara Judgment referred to by the Deputy.
The implementation of a system of health identifiers is primarily a patient safety initiative which was recommended by the Commission on Patient Safety and Quality Assurance in 2008 and by HIQA in their Recommendations for a Unique Health Identifier for Individuals in Ireland in 2009 and also Recommendations for Health Identifiers for Healthcare Practitioners and Organisationsin 2011. Health Identifiers are also essential to underpin the modernisation and eHealth agendas for the operation of a high quality health service. The Health Identifiers Act 2014 provides the legislative basis for the introduction of a system of identifiers for recipients of a health service as well as healthcare providers, both professionals and organisations.
Section 7 of the Act provides that the Minister may use particulars obtained by him or her or by the HSE before or after the coming into operation of the Section for the purposes of assigning individual health identifiers and for establishing and maintaining the National Register of Individual Health Identifiers. Section 8 of the Act provides that a Minister of the Government may provide information to the Minister for Health for the purposes of establishing or maintaining the accuracy of the National Register of Individual Health Identifiers. Therefore, the Act provides that the Register can be populated from various data sources on an ongoing basis to ensure data quality, accuracy and completeness and it is intended to exploit and reuse the significant investment in data collection and verification being made by the Minister for Social Protection in the Public Service Card initiative. The Data Protection Commissioner was consulted while the Health Identifiers Act was being drafted and will be consulted at appropriate stages of the implementation.
The Health Identifiers Act 2014 (Delegation of Relevant Functions) Order 2015 delegates the day-to-day operation of the system of health identifiers to the HSE.
The operation of the health identifier registers will be underpinned by a robust governance framework which will be informed by the Privacy Impact Assessment on the identifiers currently being carried out by HSE in addition to the Information Governance and Management Standards for the Health Identifier Operator in Irelandthat HIQA has recently submitted to me for approval.
No legislation amending the Data Protection Acts on the transfer of personal or other data was introduced in the Oireachtas by me or my predecessors during the period in question.