HC Deb 19 June 2000 vol 352 cc56-7W
Mr. Steinberg

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the safeguards in place to protect the confidentiality of personal genetic and similar information. [125731]

Yvette Cooper

Personal genetic information held in confidence, as with other confidential information, is protected by law. Health professionals also have ethical duties imposed by their regulatory bodies and the majority of National Health Service staff have equivalent contractual obligations. The Human Genetics Commission has indicated that it will be examining the protection of genetic data as a priority in its work programme.

Mrs. Lait

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance he gives to health trusts on the confidentiality of patient records under the Data Protection Act 1998.[126085]

Mr. Denham

Guidance on patient confidentiality, issued by the Department to trusts in March 1996, remains relevant and in force. Consideration will be given to whether amendments or additional guidance are needed. Department officials are discussing the implications of the new Act with the Data Protection Commissioner's office.