Ms Y and The Health Service Executive

CourtInformation Commission
JudgeSenior Investigator
Judgment Date05 August 2015
Case OutcomeThe Senior Investigator found that the HSE was justified in its decision to refuse access to the records sought by the applicant under section 15(1)(a) of the FOI Act. He affirmed the decision of the HSE.
Record Number150117
RespondentThe Health Service Executive
Whether the HSE was justified in its decision to refuse access to further medical records sought by the applicant, in particular records relating to a delivery on [Date] April 1967, under section 15(1)(a) of the FOI Act on the basis that no further records exist or can be found after all reasonable steps to ascertain their whereabouts have been taken 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 24 October 2014 the applicant submitted a request to the HSE through her solicitor for all maternity records relating to her and in particular, records relating to a delivery on [Date] April 1967. For the purposes of this decision, all references to the "applicant" may be read as references to the applicant or her agents, as appropriate. The HSE located and released one record relating to the 1967 delivery, namely a copy of an entry in the Labour Ward book for 1967. The HSE refused access to further relevant records under section 15(1)(a) of the Act, on the basis that no further records exist or can be found.

On 25 February 2015, the applicant sought an internal review of the HSE's decision. On 12 March 2015, the HSE issued its internal review decision, affirming its original decision. On 20 April 2015 the applicant sought a review by this Office of the HSE's decision.

I note that Mr Art Foley of this Office wrote to the applicant on 12 June 2015 setting out details of the searches carried out by the HSE to locate records within the scope of her request, and of details of the search procedure followed by the HSE in its efforts to locate relevant records. Mr Foley informed the applicant of his view that the decision of the HSE to refuse access to the records sought was justified, and invited the applicant to make further comments if she disagreed with this view. Following a further exchange of correspondence wherein certain matters were clarified with the HSE, the applicant indicated that she required a binding decision on the matter. I therefore consider that this review should now be brought to a close by issue of a formal, binding decision.

In conducting this review, I have had regard to correspondence between the HSE and the applicant as set out above. I have also had regard to communications between this Office and the applicant, to communications between this Office and the HSE, and to the content of the record...

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