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ARCHIVES-NRA  April 2007

ARCHIVES-NRA April 2007

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Subject:

New Guidance on Freedom of Information and Deceased Persons

From:

Kevin Mulley <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Kevin Mulley <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 19 Apr 2007 11:40:24 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (42 lines)

Colleagues may find the following guidance, which has recently appeared on 
the Information Commissioner's web-site, particularly useful in resolving 
difficult issues regarding access to information about deceased persons.
 
<http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/library/freedom_of_information/detai
led_specialist_guides/access_to_information_about_deceased_220307_v1.1.pdf>

It provides a concise general statement of the principles contained in a 
number of recent decision notices by the Commissioner, notably those 
involving access to medical information about deceased persons. 

Since the guidance mentions the Access to Health Records Act 1990, 
archivists working in places of deposit for NHS records should note that 
this particular piece of legislation does not apply to the older patient 
records transferred to them in accordance with s.3(1) and s.4(1) of the 
Public Records Acts, since these are no longer held by or on behalf of a 
health professional (one of the conditions for AHRA to apply - see s.1). 

While the guidance is a useful statement of principles, archivists will 
still have to resolve many practical issues in determining when records 
containing information regarding deceased persons should be made routinely 
available to the public, and in dealing with individual access requests. 

With regard to medical records specifically, the practical advice given by 
Colin Gale and Catherine Redfern in the Society of Archivists' Health 
Archives and Records Group publication 'After the Hundred Year Rule' 
remains extremely useful:

http://www.archives.org.uk/resources/SoA%20Best%20practice%20Guide%20Number%
208%20-%20Medical%20records.pdf

Kevin Mulley
Archives Adviser
National Advisory Services
The National Archives

www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

[log in to unmask]

tel 020 8392 5330 x2635

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