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Retained Medical Records

Question

I refer you to an earlier FOI request dated 13th May 2016,  entitled Retained Medical Records, in which I asked the following question. 

How Many consent forms have been sent to formare Officers over the last five years, as required by the Data Protection Act, allowing you to access these records?

Your Reply to this question was:

"Not Necessary because the records are being used for the purpose they were intended for"

Specifically:

Please inform me what the nature of this purpose is, and exactly what is the intended use to which you refer.

Please also define the precise lawful authority, the Constabulary rely upon, that you perceive allows you to " Use " these historic records for this purpose.

Answer

The freedom of information act allows a right of access to recorded information. For the purpose of the act information that is recorded/ documented can be disclosed. Information will not be held for the purposes of the act where it relates to, for example, understanding, knowledge and opinion.

There is no obligation for the constabulary to create information to satisfy a request. In this instance usually it would be the case that we would need to create the answer, however due to this question having already been asked outside of FOI, the answer has been documented and is therefore disclosable:

The use and disclosure of personal information

There are potentially a number of legal basis to process and to share/disclose personal information depending on the specific circumstances at that time. However, the overarching governance is afforded by The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), which is supported, interpreted and enforced by the Information Commissioner.  Under the terms of the DPA the Chief Constable is the sole “Data Controller” for the Constabulary and the Constabulary is registered with the Information Commissioner under the registration number of Z4882079. This can be viewed on the Commissioners website.

You may also find it helpful to look at the Avon and Somerset Constabulary Fair Processing Notice, which relates to the use of personal information, which can be viewed via the force website www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/fair-processing

As stated in the Act, personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully and in particular shall not be processed unless at least one condition in Schedule 2 is met and in the case of sensitive personal data, at least one of the conditions in Schedule 3 is also met.

In the case of medical files retained by the Constabulary, such processing is fair and lawful, in that we are processing such data for a legitimate purpose and the processing is necessary for compliance with legal obligations. In this case such processing is required in order to administer pensions and payments relating to injury on duty awards which also recognises that an officer is able to request a consideration of medical pension even after retirement.

The Constabulary legal obligation in this case relates to the Police Pension Regulations and Police (injury Benefit) Regulations 2006 which allows for the Police Pension Authorities to review injury pensions in order to consider whether or not the degree of the pensioner’s disablement has altered.  

FOI Ref: 816/16

Date of Request: 14.06.16