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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10914
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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In January of this year, I sent a form to my GP informing him

Resolved Question:

In January of this year, I sent a form to my GP informing him that I did not want confidential and identifiable information from my medical records to be passed on for purposes other than my medical care. My form was acknowledged by my GP. However, I have since discovered that my GP in May of this year had disclosed medical information relating to me to the Police. I was not aware of this and did not provide consent to my GP to release my medical information or provide consent to the Police to obtain it. I am also distressed by the fact that my GP did not mark any part of his report to the Police as confidential and fear this information could also be sold on to third parties. I believe my GP's action is a breach of patient confidentiality and therefore I would be most grateful if you could advise me as to what action I may take to remedy this situation. Thank you.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Alex Watts : Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
Alex Watts : On what basis do the Police want your records please?
Alex Watts : What is it you want to achieve ?

The Police obtained my medical information to see whether or not I am a fit person to continue to hold a shotgun certificate. I wish to achieve a satisfactory outcome for the distress and anxiety my GP has caused me.

Alex Watts : Thank you. Sadly the Data Protection Act has an exclusion that means they are allowed to provide information to the Police.
Alex Watts : therefore if the police requested them, they are under a duty to disclose the records.
Alex Watts : The Police have an exemption otherwise sadly they would not be able to obtain records to which were important to a number of matters
Alex Watts : I am sorry if this is not the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest
Alex Watts : Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Please point me to the relevant part of the DPA.

Alex Watts : Section 29
Alex Watts : In particular subsection 2
Alex Watts : exempt for Statutory function
Alex Watts : I am sorry, but does that clarify the position for you?
Alex Watts :

Thank you. However, I do not see the relevance of how the prevention or detection of crime or the apprehension or prosecution of offenders is relevant to my concern. The :Police had simply forwarded a copy of my application for a shotgun certificate, which I made in 2011, and pointed to the consent I gave to my GP at that time to approach him for medical information before the Police would grant the certificate. The Police did not rely on any aspect of the DPA to obtain the recent information.

Alex Watts : It's a statutory function Therefore they are exempt.

To improve information sharing between the medical profession and the police with regards ***** ***** the BMA reached an agreement with the Association of Chief Police Officers that the police will notify a GP (by letter) if any of their patients have been issued or reissued with a certificate, asking if they have any concerns about their suitability to hold a weapon,

We are aware the current system of obtaining information is causing concern for GPs. The BMA and ACPO are looking for a longer and more enduring solution, however owing to the current legislation governing firearms licensing this will take longer than initially expected.

In the interim the BMA has agreed that the letters will continue to be sent out to doctors. Doctors are reminded that they are under no obligation to respond to these letters, but should they decide not to, doctors should inform the police as it will otherwise be assumed that there is nothing relevant on the medical record.

Where doctors are happy to respond to these letters, consent to the disclosure of any information should be sought as the letter does not currently indicate that consent has been given. If the patient does not consent to disclosure, this should ordinarily be respected, although the police must be informed to that effect. If, however, the doctor believes that the patient presents an immediate risk of serious harm to themselves or others, information should be disclosed even in the face of an explicit refusal.


The above section is from the BMA. Now I am confused.

Alex Watts : Yes but this is not the law and it is an interim guideline pending full rules.
Alex Watts : A guideline is not binding.
Alex Watts : The Gp may have considered you pose a risk and disclosed.
Alex Watts : But in any event it was not illegal to disclose
Alex Watts : The Police are discharging a statutory function as required by the act.
Alex Watts : you can try and take it to court and I can outline the procedure. But my view is that a claim would be dismissed
Alex Watts : Can I clarify anything for you?

Many thanks for your professional opinion!

Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10914
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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