Ms X and The Health Service Executive

JudgeElizabeth Dolan, Senior Investigator
Judgment Date30 September 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. She affirmed the decision of the HSE.
CourtInformation Commission
Record Number150163
RespondentThe Health Service Executive
Whether the HSE was justified in its decision to refuse access to further records sought by the applicant under section 15(1)(a) of the FOI Act on the basis that no further records exist or can be found after reasonable steps to ascertain their whereabouts have been taken
Conducted in accordance with section 22(2) of the FOI Act by Elizabeth Dolan, Senior Investigator, who is authorised by the Information Commissioner to conduct this review


I should state at the outset that the manner in which the HSE processed the applicant's FOI request was most unsatisfactory as regards the statutory time frames.
On 30 March 2015 the applicant made an FOI request to the HSE for a copy of all reports relating to her medical condition on file in Cork University Hospital. As she had received no response, on 5 May the applicant requested an internal review of the HSE's processing of her request. As no decision had been made in the requisite four week period set out in the FOI Act, the HSE is deemed to have made a decision refusing to grant the applicant's request. On 18 May 2015, the HSE issued a decision to the applicant granting her request. On 26 May the HSE issued its internal review decision, which affirmed its original decision. The applicant sought a review by this Office of the HSE's decision on 2 June 2015.

I note that Mr Art Foley of this Office wrote to the applicant on 16 September 2015, setting out the searches which the HSE said it carried out for records within the scope of her request, and noting that the HSE had provided the applicant with a copy of a medical report created in relation to her after her original request had been made. Mr Foley informed the applicant of his view that the HSE was justified in its decision that no further records relating to the applicant exist. The applicant has not responded to a request for further comment from this Office. I therefore consider that this this review should now be brought to a close by the issue of 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 the provisions of the FOI Act.

Scope of Review

The applicant, in correspondence with this Office, agreed to limit the scope of this review to the issue of whether further medical records relating...

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