Ms X and The Health Service Executive

CourtInformation Commission
JudgeStephen Rafferty, Senior Investigator
Judgment Date13 August 2015
Case OutcomeThe Senior Investigator affirmed the HSE's decision.
Record Number150092
RespondentThe Health Service Executive
Whether the HSE was justified in its decision to refuse access to records relating to a deceased person who the applicant believed to be her grandmother under section 28 of the FOI Act Conducted in accordance with section 34(2) of the FOI Act by Stephen Rafferty, Senior Investigator, who is authorised by the Information Commissioner to conduct this review

Background

By letter dated 16 January 2014 the applicant submitted a request to the HSE for access to records relating to her grandmother, who had been an in-patient at St. Loman's Hospital, Mullingar (St. Loman's). In her letter, she provided some background information relating to her grandmother. In its decision of 5 November 2014, the HSE refused the request on the basis that no relevant records could be found.

The applicant sought an internal review of that decision and following review, the HSE varied its original decision. In a letter dated 13 March 2015, the HSE stated that St. Loman's held certain records relating to more than one person with the same name as the applicant's grandmother and that it was not possible, based on the information supplied by the applicant, to determine which of the records related to the applicant's grandmother and which related to third parties with the same name. On that basis, the HSE refused access to the records under section 28(1) of the Act on the ground that release of the records would involve the disclosure of personal information relating to third parties. On 30 March 2015 the applicant sought a review by this Office of the HSE's decision.

During the course of the review, the HSE confirmed that it had located five records relating to persons bearing the same name as the applicant's grandmother. Having examined the five records, and having regard to the information the applicant has provided both to the HSE and to this Office concerning her grandmother, I am satisfied that one of the records does not relate to the applicant's grandmother and that it is outside the scope of the applicant's request.

I note that Mr Benjamin O'Gorman of this Office informed the applicant of his view that the HSE was justified in refusing access to the four remaining records, and invited the applicant to make further comments if she disagreed with his view. The applicant emailed this Office with further information to substantiate her view that the records should be released. Accordingly, I now consider it appropriate to conclude this review by way of a formal binding...

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