§ Mr. Simon Hughes
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures he is taking to secure freedom of access to medical records by the individual concerned whilst retaining the confidentiality of medical records of other people. 
§ Mr. George Howarth
Individuals may gain access to their medical records under the Data Protection Act 1984 if the records are held on computer, or the Access to Health Records Act 1990 if they are held manually. There are exemptions enabling access to be denied if information relating to a third party (other than a health professional) who could thereby be identified would be disclosed, unless the other individual has consented to the
Number of defendants prosecuted1 for immigration offences, England and Wales 1 January 1996 to 30 September 1996 1 October 19962 to 31 December 1996 1 January 19973 to 30 April 1997 1 May 19973, 4 31 December 1997 Immigration Act 1971 s24(1)(aa) as added by the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 s4—obtaining leave by deception Prosecutions * — 1 — Immigration Act 1971 s25(1)(a)—knowingly facilitating or assisting the entry of an illegal entrant Prosecutions 116 37 57 106 Immigration Act 1971 s25(1)(b) as added by the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 s5—knowingly facilitating or assisting entry of asylum claimant Prosecutions * — 1 2 Immigration Act 1971 s25(1)(c) as added by the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 s5—knowingly facilitating or assisting person seeking to obtain leave by deception Prosecutions * — 1 2 1Principal immigration offence 2Section 4 and 5 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 came into force on 1 October 1996 31997 data are provisional. Final 1997 information will be available in the autumn 4Date of General Election
§ Mr. Burnett
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) in how many asylum appeals the Refugee Legal Centre acted as legal representative in each year from 1993 to 1997; 
(2) in how many (a) asylum and (b) immigration appeals the Immigration Advisory Service acted as legal representative in each year from 1995 to 1997. 554W
disclosure; or if disclosure would be likely to cause serious harm to the physical or mental health of the patient or of any other individual.
The Data Protection Bill currently before Parliament brings together the subject access rights of the 1984 and 1990 Acts and implements the access requirements of the 1995 European Communities Data Protection Directive. There will continue to be exemptions where giving subject access would incidentally reveal the identity of a third party without his or her consent, but consistent with European Court of Human Rights requirements, decisions to refuse access on that basis will be able to be challenged by the Data Protection Commissioner or in the courts. The Bill also contains powers to provide exemptions for the avoidance of harm to the patient or other individuals.
Access to third parties' medical records in other circumstances will continue to be limited by the general law and by the non-disclosure provisions of the data protection regime.