HC Deb 22 July 1982 vol 28 cc519-20
6. Mr. Pitt

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what reply he has sent to the British Medical Association's representations to him about the White Paper on data protection.

Mr. Raison

The British Medical Association has been thanked for its written comments on the Government's proposals. The association requested a meeting to discuss its comments, and that is being arranged.

Mr. Pitt

In view of the sensitivity of medical records, and in the light of the previous question, does the Minister agree that legislation on data protection should impose a statutory obligation on those keeping medical records not to allow access to them to a wide range of people, including the police, unless it is absolutely necessary?

Mr. Raison

We have always accepted the importance of medical records being kept confidential. We shall have close consultations with the medical profession. It is likely that the Bill will provide regulations.

Mr. Forman

What representations has my right hon. Friend had on the subject? Do they suggest that it would be wise to legislate as speedily as possible?

Mr. Raison

More than 180 organisations and members of the public responded to the White Paper. There has been broad support for the legislative proposals. We hope to press ahead.

Mr. Hattersley

The Minister of State referred to the contents of a Bill. Is that the Bill that the Home Secretary will not anticipate being in next year's programme?

Mr. Raison

We have made it clear that we intend to legislate. The customary way of doing that is through a Bill, and that will come.