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Patients (Notes)

Volume 116: debated on Tuesday 12 May 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he has received reports of proposals by hospital consultants to charge for summaries of patients' notes held on computer to which access is required under the Data Protection Act;(2) whether his Department has given any advice about the charges to be levied by consultants within the National Health Service for the production of summaries of patients' notes held on computer to which access is required under the Data Protection Act.

I am aware of the press reports speculating about the level of charge that might be made to hospital patients wishing to have information from their computerised case notes. The maximum amount of any fee which might he charged by a data user to a data subject for access to personal information held on computer, will be prescribed by regulations to be made by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. It is not expected that the fee will be so high as generally to deter data subjects from exercising their rights.Consideration is currently being given to the administrative procedures which may be required in the National Health Service hospital service to implement access. The question of charges for work undertaken by consultants has not yet been considered. To the extent that such charges may exceed the maximum prescribed fee, these will not be passed on to the patient.