Mr X and Health Service Executive

CourtInformation Commission
JudgeStephen Rafferty Senior Investigator
Judgment Date26 May 2015
Case OutcomeThe Senior Investigator affirmed the HSE's decision.
Record Number150054
RespondentHealth Service Executive
Whether the HSE was justified in its decision to refuse the applicant's request for a copy of a dispensed prescription under section 15(1)(a) of the FOI Act on the basis that the record does not exist Conducted in accordance with section 22(2) of the FOI Act by Stephen Rafferty, Senior Investigator, who is authorised by the Information Commissioner to conduct this review Background

On 2 December 2014, the applicant applied to the HSE for a copy of a prescription for 75mg Lyrica capsules that was dispensed to him on 10 November 2011. In its decision of 3 December 2014, the HSE stated that it could find no record of any matter relating to "Lyrica 75mg" and noted that records of prescription sheets were previously released under separate FOI requests. The applicant sought an internal review of the decision and on 13 February 2015, the HSE issued an internal review decision affirming its original decision. On 17 February 2015, the applicant sought a review by this Office of the HSE's decision.

On 8 May 2015, Mr Benjamin O'Gorman of this Office informed the applicant, by email and by telephone, of the searches undertaken by the HSE to locate all relevant records and of its responses to queries arising from the applicant's concerns. In both his email and telephone call Mr O'Gorman outlined his view that the HSE's refusal to grant access to the record requested, on the ground that it does not exist, was justified. The applicant indicated that he wished for this Office to proceed to a full decision. I therefore consider that the review should now be brought to a close by the issue of a formal, binding decision.

In carrying out this review, I have had regard to the correspondence between the HSE and the applicant, to communications between this Office and the applicant, and to communications between this Office and the HSE.

Scope of the Review

This review is concerned solely with the question of whether the HSE was justified in its decision to refuse access to a copy of a prescription for 75mg Lyrica capsules that was dispensed to the applicant on 10 November 2011 on the basis that the record sought does not exist.

Analysis and Findings

The HSE's position is that the record requested does not exist. Accordingly, section 15(1)(a) of the FOI Act is relevant. That section provides that a public body may refuse a request where the record concerned does not exist or cannot be found after all reasonable steps to ascertain its whereabouts have been taken. The...

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