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Patient confidentiality and SEN

(4 Posts)
Besieged Sat 08-Mar-14 13:23:16

Does anyone know whether the following constitutes a breach of the Privacy Act, or any other useful legislation?

I have a young child with ASD, hence special educational needs. We are locked in an increasingly aggressive fight with the LEA to obtain an appropriate Statement of SEN for her, which is going to Tribunal (a Statement was issued, but it fails miserably to describe her needs with any accuracy and provide for her to access any education). Adding complexity to the case, my daughter also has leukaemia - and is undergoing intensive chemotherapy which prevents her attending any school at all (she's extremely vulnerable to infection, so unable to be around other children or groups of people). Medical information (from Hospital), including updates as they occur, has been provided by me to all parties involved in the case -LA included.

Recently, I've become aware that the LA has been phoning my daughter's oncology consultant to ask for medical information. They've also had a lawyer write to the hospital to seek similar info. I was not told of this by the LA, so obviously had not given consent. My question then is whether the LA has acted illegally?

I would have believed that they could only seek/obtain medical information with my knowledge and consent. I'm wondering whether this breaches the Privacy Act, or any other helpful legislation? The LA has behaved abominably throughout this case, and it's only become worse and more aggressive since my daughter became ill with leukaemia. If they've also acted illegally, I could really use some advice.


Sneezecakesmum Sat 08-Mar-14 21:25:16

It would certainly not be legal for the hospital to disclose private information and I am sure they will not have done so. Just contacting medical personnel is not illegal but in the case of the LA it's certainly unethical and someone is acting in a way which is outside their remit. I think a complaint is certainly in order.

PolterGoose Sun 09-Mar-14 10:45:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Besieged Sun 09-Mar-14 23:13:22

Thanks both - I'll give the SEN board a go.

Unfortunately, the hospital did divulge some info, though I've stopped any further. I'm less upset with them than the LA, as they were mislead on who was asking. I've a feeling the law is only set up to punish the divulger of data, not those asking for it (irrespective of misreprentation).

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