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Breach of doctors' privacy alleged at Waikato District Health Board

#1 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 03:58 PM

Breach of doctors' privacy alleged at Waikato District Health Board

LIBBY WILSON

Last updated 19:13, March 18 2016


http://www.stuff.co....ct-health-board

An alleged privacy breach involving doctors' own health and safety information has sparked debate.

Waikato District Health Board human resource staffers entered health and safety files of specialists without authorisation, according to the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).

The union has advised its Waikato members to stop using or giving medical information to the board's Health and Safety Service.

The health board called it a fundamental misunderstanding and said it only sought patient information with permission, and was clear about its use.

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The association understands human resource staffers have accessed more employee health and safety information than needed.

"They should never even receive or take any information that goes beyond the answers to specific questions, with patient consent," ASMS executive director Ian Powell said.

"This is accessing not the answers to questions, it's accessing the file, which will often have other information."

That raised serious concerns and the association sent two letters to the health board without a substantive response.

"If the allegation had been incorrect it would have been very easy to simply say that," Powell said.


So association members are currently advised not to use the service, or give it any further medical information.

The lack of response indicated "a culture of arrogance and disrespect" from DHB leadership, Powell said.

But health and safety staffers didn't access clinical records of hospital employees, Waikato DHB's Greg Peploe​ said.

"What we do have access to are the health and safety files, which is part of the HR service," he said.

The association showed a fundamental misunderstanding of why the health and safety information was collected and kept, he said.

Patient permission was required and it was used to advise the organisation on health and safety risks, or managing health at work.

"For instance, a person gets a broken leg and we say, we need some advice from your doctor... on how long before your leg is healed," Peploe said.

A pamphlet with the consent form explained why information was being collected, and any use or access would be in accordance with the Privacy Act.

- Stuff

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