NHS: Members' Constituency Work

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 12th February 2019.

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Photo of Helen Jones Helen Jones Chair, Petitions Committee, Chair, Petitions Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will issue instruction to NHS England that signed authority from a patient is not required for the NHS to progress an inquiry from an hon. Member pursuing a case on behalf of a constituent; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Helen Jones Helen Jones Chair, Petitions Committee, Chair, Petitions Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which Ministers were consulted by NHS England before they advised health bodies to request a signed authority from an honourable Member acting on behalf of a constituent; and for what reason that policy on this matter has been changed.

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

An error has been identified in the written answer given on 21 January 2019.

The correct answer should have been:

There has been no change in policy with regards to obtaining consent of a patient for the purposes of an inquiry or investigation and therefore Ministers have not been consulted.

If a National Health Service body is to disclose patient information held by it in order to progress an inquiry from a hon. Member on behalf of a constituent, there are circumstances in which the body may provide patient information to a Member of Parliament without the Member evidencing the explicit consent of the patient, so long as that information is provided in accordance with the requirements set out in paragraph 24 of Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 2018it must obtain the consent of the patient before doing so. An inquiry or an investigation will almost certainly require the disclosure by the NHS body of information relating to the constituent as patient.

The NHS body must be content that there is a legal basis under the General Data Protection Regulation/Data Protection Act for processing patient information (i.e. disclosing and sharing it for the purposes of the investigation). This is easier to satisfy if it is clear the patient has consented to the hon. Member making investigations on their behalf.

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Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

There has been no change in policy with regards to obtaining consent of a patient for the purposes of an inquiry or investigation and therefore Ministers have not been consulted.

If a National Health Service body is to disclose patient information held by it in order to progress an inquiry from a hon. Member on behalf of a constituent, there are circumstances in which the body may provide patient information to a Member of Parliament without the Member evidencing the explicit consent of the patient, so long as that information is provided in accordance with the requirements set out in paragraph 24 of Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 2018it must obtain the consent of the patient before doing so. An inquiry or an investigation will almost certainly require the disclosure by the NHS body of information relating to the constituent as patient.

The NHS body must be content that there is a legal basis under the General Data Protection Regulation/Data Protection Act for processing patient information (i.e. disclosing and sharing it for the purposes of the investigation). This is easier to satisfy if it is clear the patient has consented to the hon. Member making investigations on their behalf.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes0 people think so

No0 people think not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.