Mr X and the Health Service Executive

CourtInformation Commission
JudgeStephen Rafferty Senior Investigator
Judgment Date20 October 2015
Case OutcomeThe Senior Investigator affirmed the HSE's decision to refuse access to the records sought.
Record Number150207
RespondentHealth Service Executive
Whether the HSE was justified in its decision to refuse the applicant's request for copies of his mother's application for nursing home support and related medical and financial records submitted with the application on the ground that the records contain personal information of third parties that is exempt from release under section 37 of the FOI Act 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 16 April 2015 the HSE received a request from the applicant for a copy of the "Fair Deal Nursing Home Application Form and all medical and financial reports and financial details submitted with it" relating to his mother. In its decision of 30 April 2015 the HSE refused access to all relevant records on the ground that they contain the personal information of third parties. Following a request for internal review, the HSE affirmed its original decision on 23 June 2015. On 25 June 2015 the applicant applied to this Office for a review of that decision.

I note that during the course of this review Mr Benjamin O'Gorman of this Office informed the applicant of his view that the HSE was justified in its decision to refuse access to the records at issue. The applicant indicated he wished to proceed to a formal binding decision. In conducting this review I have had regard to correspondence between the applicant and the HSE, to correspondence between the applicant and this Office, to correspondence between the HSE and this Office, and to the contents of the records at issue.

Scope of Review

This review is concerned solely with the question of whether the HSE was justified in its decision to refuse access to the records at issue on the basis that they contain the personal information of third parties.

Analysis and Findings

The HSE refused access to the records at issue under section 37 of the FOI Act. Section 37(1) provides that access to a record shall be refused if access would involve the disclosure of personal information of parties other than the requester. Having reviewed the relevant records, I am satisfied that the withheld records contain personal information relating to third parties other than the applicant and that section 37(1) of the Act applies.

Section 37(2) of the FOI Act sets out certain circumstances in which the exemption at section 37(1) does not apply. I am satisfied that none of those circumstances...

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