I have practical experience of applying the exemption, it's usually mental
health related. One case consisted of notes in the record which indicated
incestuous offspring. Without going into too much detail, when reviewed by
the Director of Psychiatry who reviewed all requests at that time, it was
determined that the information would likely cause serious harm, or put at
serious risk certain individuals as well as the data subject themselves who
was being treated for mental health issues of a serious nature.
So, whilst it's not often used, it is a valid and required exemption.
From: This list is for those interested in Data Protection issues
<[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of
[log in to unmask]
Sent: 02 July 2018 17:30
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [data-protection] Health Records
Some psychotic episodes are easily triggered or exacerbated by the contents
of records. Paranoid psychoses in particular might be made worse. A lifetime
ago I worked in a community mental health clinic and we were warned for
example about saying certain phrases to particular patients.
> On 2 Jul 2018, at 17:01, Phil Bradshaw <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I know there are a number of health freaks on here but anyone else is
welcome to contribute.
> Can anyone think of a practical example where the serious harm test might
be used to withhold disclosure of health data under a SAR ( likely to cause
serious harm to the physical or mental health of the data subject or another
> One of the professional bodies (BMA or GMC) gave the example of a subject
applying for personal data which consisted of sexual abuse allegations made
by a child - which may indeed qualify but for which the test is hardly
necessary as it would fail the "Reasonable in all the circumstances" test
for mixed data.
> Seems to me the test is largely a hangover from a bygone paternalistic era
when doctors might withhold difficult diagnoses in the patient's interests
and not want to let the cat out by the SAR back door. Current duties of
candour make that scenario most unlikely and I have yet to find an occasion
when the test has been applied in earnest.
> I have used the similar test often in social work cases but that is a very
different beast and social work files are much more likely to have unmixed
data about other people given in confidence.
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