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NHS: Members' Constituency Work

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 208761, tabled on 15 January 2019

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.

Answered on

21 January 2019

This answer is a correction from the original answer.

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 2018. 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.

Original answer

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, it 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.

Answered by

Department of Health and Social Care
Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.