Note: Due to this Department’s unreliable and unorthodox processing of Requests for clarification, including Freedom of Information Requests, documentary evidence, especially of the submitted Requests, in not available. In fact, there is NO credible evidence that we have sent anything at all.
Although the Department’s processing has become ‘automated’, it is far from satisfactory and the concerns are addressed on the DHSC Contact Us page.
The Department of Health is in NO way involved in the disclosure of F’s HIV status and related clinical information.
However, it can be criticised for not being able to provide proper clarification of the NHS(Venereal Regulations)1974, which provides an unique exception to the very strict medical Confidentiality in permitting disclosure of STD related information, including HIV, for specific purposes and to specific medical professionals.
In 1986 the Department issued the LASSL-8-1986, which in section 4 deals with who should receive HIV related information.
In 2000 it issued the ‘Data Protection Act 1998 – Guidance to Social Services’. This is an orderly guide, taking the Data Protection Act as it basis, aimed at those NOT legally trained. This being the majority of Social Workers, to whom this guide should be a great help.
It addresses and explains in a simple language the DPA as it applies to various aspects of Social Care and how relevant documents should be treated.
However, it fails to even mention the existence of the various Statutory Restrictions on data handling, including those regulating handling of CHILD’s personal information and the NHS Statutory Restrictions, which control the handling of STD, including HIV, information.
However, utter confusion is created by the fact that only the Act, but also the Code of Practice, fail to define what may constitute a breach of these Restrictions, who should receive any complaints about the breach and what form the complaint should take. Most importantly perhaps, it does not define the period of time within which any complaints must be submitted.
In 2010 the Department issued new guidelines for the conduct of Adult Social Care Assessment, the “Prioritising need in the context of Putting People First: A whole system approach to eligibility for social care
Guidance on Eligibility Criteria for Adult Social Care“, addressed on the Assessments page.
RBKC chose to completely ignore provisions of all of these guidelines, in processing F’s identifiable information.
On the whole, the Department have been very helpful if providing us with clarification of various points relating to legislation within DHSC’s remit.
However, there is an ongoing research relating to the way members of the Public may contact the DHSC. At present, any communications can ONLY be sent to the Department through their ‘Contact Us’ webform.