HC Deb 04 November 2003 vol 412 c597W
Dr. Iddon

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance he has issued to(a) primary care trusts, (b) NHS trusts and (c) agencies of his Department on S.I., 2002, No. 2905, The Data Protection (Processing of Sensitive Personal Data) (Elected Representatives) Order 2002 and the involvement of hon. Members with cases; and if he will make a statement. [135261]

Ms Rosie Winterton

Guidance was issued to all primary care trusts, national health service trusts and agencies of the Department in July 2003 as part of the "Confidentiality: NHS Code of Practice". The guidance states the following in the case of disclosures of health data to hon. and right hon. Members.If an investigation is appropriately authorised, disclosure will meet tests of necessity and appropriateness. The minimum necessary information should be disclosed. There is a balance to be drawn between ensuring that a patient has understood and properly consented to a disclosure of information and needlessly obstructing an investigation. Careful consideration of any written authorisation and prompt action are key, e.g. where an MP states, in writing, that s/he has a patient's consent for disclosure this may be accepted without further resort to the patient.