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DPA - Disclosure without Consent

Thomas Smith made this Freedom of Information request to Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

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Dear Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust,

I am wanting to find out more in-depth information regarding your procedures when disclosing information about a Patient without their consent. To help make my questions easier for you to visualise and answer I have set out the following hypothetical scenario:

A voluntary out-patient is being treated by a psychologist employed by yourselves for depression with some suicidal-thoughts and relationship issues. The psychologist receives an unsolicited email from the partner of the patient with a general allegation that the patient has viewed child pornography, but the email does not contain any proof, only an allegation, and does not identify any specific child or group of children.

A) Please tell me the names and give outline details of all policies and procedures that would need to be followed by the psychologist and other staff in this scenario, including: i) the job titles of any applicable staff members that need to be informed and staff members who are responsible for making decisions regarding disclosure, ii) and what records must be kept and how long for.

B) If disclosure to the Police is decided what information about the Patient would be disclosed to ensure the disclosure complies with the DPA?
Bi) Who would be responsible for actually informing and dealing with Police?
Bii) Would the email received by the Psychologist be passed onto the Police?
Biii) If the email is passed on, how must the email be compliantly passed onto the Police?
Biv) Would the email address and/or name of the partner who sent the email be passed on to the Police?
Bv) Would the Patient be informed at any point that the Police have been informed?

C) What would be the legal basis for disclosure to the Police, including the names of any applicable laws?

D) If the Partner of the Patient is of the same-sex would you ensure that any information disclosed to the Police couldn’t identify the sexual orientation of the Patient or the Partner?
Di) If you wouldn’t take any precautions and thus the information disclosed would identify the sexual orientation of the Patient and Partner what is your legal basis and protection for this?

Thank you,
Thomas Smith

Southern Health Freedom of Information, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Smith

Thank you for your email and request for information.

Please find attached our letter of acknowledgement and confirmation that this request is being handled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Should you have any queries then please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards,

Freedom of Information Officer
Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
Quality and Governance
6 Sterne Road
Tatchbury Mount
Calmore
Southampton
SO40 2RZ

Tel: 02380 874662
Email: [email address]
Web: www.southernhealth.nhs.uk

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Southern Health Freedom of Information, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

4 Attachments

Dear Mr Smith

We are writing to advise that the Trust is in a position to respond to your request concerning policies around disclosure.

Please find attached a copy of our response and copies of the relevant Trust policies for your attention.

We would advise that this request has been handled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

We are obliged to inform you that all material supplied to you including, layout, presentation, text, logos, icons, photos, and all material is copyright © Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, unless otherwise stated.

You are free to use any information supplied for your own use, including for non-commercial research purposes. The information may also be used for the purposes of news reporting. However, any other type of re-use, for example by publishing the information or issuing copies to the public, will require the express written permission of the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.

We would appreciate your feedback on how you thought your Freedom of Information request was handled and would be grateful if you could kindly complete a short questionnaire which can be accessed via the following link:

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TK8D3H8

If you have any complaints in respect of your information request, please ensure you send these to the address below within 60 days of the date of this response. We regret that we will not respond to any complaints outside of the 60 day period.

Head of Legal and Insurance Services
Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
5-6 Sterne Road
Tatchbury Mount
Calmore
Southampton
SO40 2RZ

If your complaint is not resolved to your complete satisfaction, you have the right to apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner’s Office can be contacted by way of letter addressed to:

Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact the Trust at the email address shown above.

It would be useful if you could kindly quote the reference number shown in any future communications.

Kind regards,

Freedom Of Information Officer
SOUTHERN HEALTH NHS FOUNDATION TRUST

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Hello,

Thank you for your quick and detailed response; it is very much appreciated.

I have a few follow up questions based on your answers, which you may treat as a continuation of the same FOI request or as a new request, as you see fit.

My follow up questions are:

1. I have read through ‘SH CP 56: Safeguarding Children Policy’ and the Children’s Act 1989 and 2004, both of which deal with abuse towards an identified, specific child. Therefore, on what basis would the trust use this policy if an adult makes a general allegation that a patient is viewing child pornography, but does not mention any risk to a specific identifiable child or children?

2. Given that you mention the consultant or lead healthcare professional involved with the patient, or their deputy, has discretion, within the law, over what information may be given to the Police, is it these people who would make the disclosure to the Police? Or could the staff member who first received the allegation be the one to make the disclosure?

3. When you mention that ‘a record of the disclosure made would be written onto the patient’s record’ are you referring to the patient’s actual medical records which could then be viewed by any healthcare practitioner treating the patient? Or another record?

4. Please provide information and policies on how the trust determines what constitutes a serious crime.

5. Please provide how the minimum, relevant information, to satisfy the inquiry is determined, and who is responsible for making this determination.

6. Please provide the relevant policies (or information) regarding using appropriate, secure communication when disclosing information to the Police.

7. You mention that the patient would not be advised if advising the alleged perpetrator would prejudice the investigation into the alleged crime, therefore, what effect would there be on your procedures regarding disclosure if the Patient was advised that the allegation and their information will be disclosed to the police before the actual disclosure takes place? (For example, where the Police investigation would rely on evidence being retained on the Patients computer and informing the patient before the disclosure took place would allow time for the Patient to potentially destroy the evidence)

Many thanks for your continued help.

Yours sincerely,

Thomas Smith

Southern Health Freedom of Information, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Smith

Thank you for your email and request for information.

Please find attached our letter of acknowledgement and confirmation that this request is being handled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Should you have any queries then please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards,

Freedom of Information Officer
Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
Quality and Governance
6 Sterne Road
Tatchbury Mount
Calmore
Southampton
SO40 2RZ

Tel: 02380 874662
Email: [email address]
Web: www.southernhealth.nhs.uk

show quoted sections

Southern Health Freedom of Information, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Smith

We are writing to advise that the Trust is in a position to respond to your request concerning additional information to FOI2198.

Please find attached a copy of our response for your attention.

We would advise that this request has been handled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

We are obliged to inform you that all material supplied to you including, layout, presentation, text, logos, icons, photos, and all material is copyright © Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, unless otherwise stated.

You are free to use any information supplied for your own use, including for non-commercial research purposes. The information may also be used for the purposes of news reporting. However, any other type of re-use, for example by publishing the information or issuing copies to the public, will require the express written permission of the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.

We would appreciate your feedback on how you thought your Freedom of Information request was handled and would be grateful if you could kindly complete a short questionnaire which can be accessed via the following link:

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TK8D3H8

If you have any complaints in respect of your information request, please ensure you send these to the address below within 60 days of the date of this response. We regret that we will not respond to any complaints outside of the 60 day period.

Head of Legal and Insurance Services
Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
5-6 Sterne Road
Tatchbury Mount
Calmore
Southampton
SO40 2RZ

If your complaint is not resolved to your complete satisfaction, you have the right to apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner’s Office can be contacted by way of letter addressed to:

Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact the Trust at the email address shown above.

It would be useful if you could kindly quote the reference number shown in any future communications.

Kind regards,

Freedom Of Information Officer
SOUTHERN HEALTH NHS FOUNDATION TRUST

show quoted sections

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Thomas Smith please sign in and let everyone know.