Ms Y and St James's Hospital

CourtInformation Commission
JudgeSenior Investigator
Judgment Date13 Sep 2021
Case OutcomeThe Senior Investigator affirmed the decision of the Hospital.
RespondentSt James's Hospital
Record NumberOIC-107678-B1B8L2
Whether the Hospital was justified in refusing, under section 15(1)(a) of the FOI Act, access to records relating to the applicant on the ground that no further relevant records exist or can be found

13 September 2021

Background

In a request dated 21 January 2021, the applicant submitted a request to the Hospital seeking her clinical and non-clinical records from 3 September 2019 to January 2021, including all records relating to her place on a waiting list with a named consultant and all correspondence between the consultant’s office and the Admissions Department.

As the Hospital failed to issue a decision on the request within the statutory time-frame, the applicant sought an internal review of the deemed refusal of her request on 17 February 2021. The Hospital issued its decision on 18 March 2021, wherein it informed the applicant that it had decided to grant the request. On 17 May 2021, the applicant sought a review by this Office of the Hospital’s decision. Among other things, she said she had received no records relating to her place on the waiting list or the consultant’s correspondence with the Admissions Department.

Shortly after this Office accepted the application for review, the Hospital sent photocopies of the records to the applicant, including documentation relating to the applicant’s place on the waiting list. In subsequent correspondence with this Office, the applicant identified various types of records she considered should have been released to her, including her e-mails with the consultant’s secretary, records relating to her status on the waiting list, letters from her GP to the consultant, information relating to a validation carried out by the hospital on the waiting lists, and her correspondence with the patients’ experience office.

Following correspondence with this Office, the Hospital sent additional records to the applicant that related to her complaint to the Hospital and that had been held separately from her clinical record, and an email from the Consultant’s Office to the Admissions Department with an attached GP referral letter. It argued that all relevant records had, at that stage, been provided and it provided details of the searches undertaken to locate all relevant records.

The Investigating Officer provided the applicant with details of the searches undertaken by the Hospital for relevant records and of its reasons for finding that no further relevant records exist. The applicant made a submission in response.

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