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Alcohol Detoxification Programmes

Volume 448: debated on Tuesday 11 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will take steps to allow pastoral outreach workers assisting alcoholics without families engaged in detoxification programmes to be treated as next-of-kin for health information purposes. (81869)

[holding answer 3 July 2006]: Patients who have the capacity to consent to the release of their personal information may consent to its release to pastoral outreach workers.

In the case of those patients who do not have that capacity, healthcare professionals may release such information to pastoral outreach workers where they consider the release would be in the best interests of their patient and that it would be in accordance with the right to respect for private life which is guaranteed by the European Convention of Human Rights.

These provisions are designed to provide a balance between the protection of the privacy of personal healthcare information and the communication of that information where that is appropriate, whether to pastoral outreach workers or to others.