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Buachaill
Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10711
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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Dear Buachaill, In respect of breaches of medical confidentiality,

Customer Question

DearCustomer
In respect of breaches of medical confidentiality, how would one assess the quantum of damages ?
Kind regards
Dan
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 2 years ago.
Hello,
I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.
I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.
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Nicola
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Nicola,That would be most helpful.Kind regardsDan
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 2 years ago.
Hello,
We will continue to look for a Professional to assist you.
Thank you for your patience,
Nicola
Expert:  Buachaill replied 2 years ago.
1. The first principle for awarding damages for breach of confidence which involved the unauthorised disclosure of medical matters is that compensation will be warded for any harm directly caused by the breach of confidence. This includes damages for loss of reputation and for injury to feelings. For example in Cornelius v De Taranto (2001), Morland J awarded £3,000 for injury to feelings out of £3,750 for the unauthorised disclosure of a psychiatric report. For example, should a patient's application for an abortion be made public to their family, damages will be given for the unauthorised disclosure of that, and will compensate for any loss of reputation suffered in the eyes of the family. Similarly, if actual harm is caused by the disclosure, such as a person losing their job then the person will be compensated for this.
Expert:  Buachaill replied 2 years ago.
2. This is an evolving area of the law and recently, the Court of appeal has held that there is a tort of unauthorised use of private data. This tort is arguably wider and more appropriate in certain circumstances for breach of medical confidentiality for it covers cases where private medical data is sold - without authorisation - in circumstances where it has a commercial value. Examples would be the fact someone has diabetes and uses insulin products. This would help an insulin product seller and lead to direct marketing to the individual. This would give rise to an action for damages.
Expert:  Buachaill replied 2 years ago.
3. Be aware that awards for damages for breach of medical confidentiality is an evolving area of the law and to date, the courts haven't fleshed out how to assess damages. In breach of confidence for unauthorised disclosure of commercial information, courts have looked to the commercial value of the information if sold. However, no one puts a commercial value on their own person medical information so courts have found difficulties in assessing damages for unauthorised divulging of information as there are no readily available yardsticks.
Expert:  Buachaill replied 2 years ago.

4. Courts have instead looked at the harm caused to the person and applied a rough and ready formula by reference to awards in other areas of tort law. Damages for defamation, damages for loss of enjoyment of holidays, damages for privacy, damages for breach of human rights are all looked at in assessing the quantum of loss.