Department of Health and Social Care – DHSC

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.

It was the ICO, who advised us,  as late as 6th January 2016, that the NHS should deals with any breaches of this Act.  However, confusion also exists at that Department.

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.

In 2003 it issued theConfidentiality –NHS  Code of Practice, which mirrors these   Statutory Restrictions in paragraph 46.

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.

 

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