Collection of HIV information

The concern of this page is how RBKC’s collected/acquired F’s HIV relevant information and  recorded it.  The disclosure of it is addressed here.

On 26th June 2014, F received a statement from the Department of  Health   that ‘Local authorities are not entitled  to ask for, or receive , an individual’s  confidential medical  records, including  information about  a person’s HIV status‘.

F was aware that his HIV clinic and GP NEVER provided HIV relevant information to RBKC.    The ONLY letter provided to RBKC by F’s clinic was to support his housing application.  Even this letter did not disclose specifically any of F’s medical conditions.

Taking into consideration F’s May 2010  amendment to his Information Sharing Agreement,  he became interested as to what  HIV relevant information, if any,  was still held by RBKC in their files.  

On 24th February 2014, F  requested  RBKC to provide him with legally sound justification  for the disclosure of his HIV+ status to the LGO.

On 11th March 2014, RBKC replied, telling him that a phone referral  was made by St Mary’s hospital, when Mr Keighly,  “RBKC’s Specialist HIV Care Manager, visited him on 13th April 2014.   Nobody has been able to confirm this statement or provide any evidence of it actually taking place.   F was sent  over an ordinary, unencrypted email service, a copy of  a letter from the St John’s Hospice, dated  25th April 2000.

F was utterly shocked when he received the NEVER SEEN BEFORE letter.  He does NOT recall that he was made aware of it  and that he gave his consent for its issue, which was NOT necessary.  Furthermore, a letter giving out  such a highly confidential medical information should have NEVER been sent by RBKC  by email; service which is regarded to by unsafe.

Since F left hospital in mid-2000, a number of Social Workers completed  regular Care Plan Reviews.  This was in relation to the  RBKC’s contribution towards the cost of a ‘domestic cleaner‘, to assist F with mundane domestic chores, he was unable to do properly, due to the physical impairment suffered  as a result of a bad stroke in 2000.

During their visits, F may have discussed, in an atmosphere of strict CONFIDENTIALITY,  the progress of his HIV condition.  He never imagined that this information would  be recorded on his file, as it was NOT relevant to the provision of the cleaner, or anything else, for that matter.

When F received  the asked for  copies of  his Care Plan Reviews,  dating back to 2000, he discovered that NOT A SINGLE Review was signed by him.  The Reviews were never given to him for his review and signature, as is the case in all the local authorities we asked.   A copy of the Review was NEVER given to him, for his records.  He was unaware what was recorded.

He found that RBKC had made no effort to remove  HIV relevant information from these Reviews, as instructed in the Information Sharing Agreement.

Not only  the acronym HIV, but also  very detailed clinical information about the condition’s progress, were clear to see.  The life saving medication F is obliged to take and the inevitable nasty side effects he suffers as a consequence.

The fact that F’s HIV status is irrelevant to the provision of  the ‘domestic help’, is confirmed  by the absence of ANY medical information, let alone his HIV+ status on his assessment document.  The space  for medical information on the FACE Report is BLANK.

On 28th September 2015, F wrote to Ms Baillie, about the Care Plan Reviews, stating  surprise  that his HIV information was recorded on these unverified and unsigned Reports.   Ms  Baillie replied on 6th October 2015,  that she could /would not  respond  to any of the points raised by F.

CONCLUSION:  F’s HIV relevant information was collected  and disclosed without his  consent or knowledge.  THIS INFORMATION  HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE PROVISION OF CARE AND NONE of RBKC’s BUSINESS.

 

Delete HIV information

NOTE: This page illustrates Ms Parker’s abysmally, well nigh non-existent, understanding of CONFIDENTIALITY, especially about matters concerning HIV related information.

She offered F to delete  his HIV relevant information from RBKC files.  Which files?  It must be appreciated that all local authorities have their own backup facilities, in addition to those in place by government.  This means that it is unknown how many copies of F’s information is stored on various computer systems.  In addition, how many copies are stored by the LGO.  How many individuals are aware of F’s HIV+ status?  The number is unknown.

However, the MOST IMPORTANT point is that unknown number of individuals  were and are aware of F’s HIV+ status.  This is the point. How on Earth, is she going to remove this KNOWLEDGE from  their minds? 

This is the reason why not only CONFIDENTIAL information, but especially  details about person’s HIV status must be treated with great caution.  ONCE DISCLOSED, IT CAN NEVER BY UNDONE.  It must be remembered, taking the Soho Clinic event into consideration, mere inference  that individual had some business with the Clinic, may have caused  unnecessary distress and anxiety to the recipients of the Newsletter.  Proof was not required.  Whereas, in F’s case, not only his identity was disclosed, but also clinical details about the progression of his condition, which were NONE of RBKC’s business.

This was the problem with Brent Council, when they were faced with the case described in Brent v N P.  They had the proper presence of reason and sought  legal advice and eventually went to Court to obtain a ruling on the matter, which ruled in favour of the foster parent, and his HIV+ status was NOT disclosed.

Therefore, Ms Parker’s reasoning is nothing but silly drivel.

This page endorses Law Commission’s findings in their ‘Data Sharing Between Public Bodies that local authorities  have poor understanding of data protection legislation.(para 3.6; 3.25, 3.80)

On 26th June 2014, F received a statement from the Department of  Health    that ‘Local authorities are not entitled  to ask for, or receive , an individual’s  confidential medical  records, including  information about  a person’s HIV status‘.

On 10th October 2014, F asked  Ms Nadia Husain,  RBKC’s Customer Care and Complaints Manager,  who  defended disclosure of F’s HIV relevant information to the LGO, why was it necessary for RBKC to collect this specific information. in the first place, taking the above statement into consideration.

As Ms Husain chose NOT to reply,  on 27th October 2014, F wrote to the Chief Executive, reiterating his 10th October message to Ms Husain and informing him that he will refer the matter the Dame Fiona Caldicott, to whom F wrote on 28th October 2014

As F did not receive a reply, or even an acknowledgement,  On 13th November 2014, he repeated his  27th October 2014 message.

Unexpectedly, on 25th November 2014, Ms Parker, RBKC’s Chief Solicitor chimed in with her suggestion of how to move forward to resolve the matter.

It is not clear, whether she had by this time realised what had happened, as she failed to reply to my questions to Ms  Husain, but still reiterating her original justification for disclosure dated  22nd February 2012, in which she quoted paragraph 29 of the Local Government Act 1972 as the authority.

However, this is the incorrect version of the Local Government Act.  The 1972 version’s paragraph 29 addresses COMPLETELY DIFFERENT matter.

The correct  version relevant to F’s matter and her claims, is the 1974 version.

She quoted paragraph 29 in its entirety, forgetting that paragraph 29-(7) provides an EXEMPTION, if needed. It stated that ‘”No person shall be compelled  for the purposes of an investigation  under this Part of this Act to give any evidence or produce any document which he could NOT be compelled  to give or produce  in civil proceedings  before the High Court.”    This is discussed at length on the disclosure of information page.

The important point to recall, is that the LGO did NOT ask for any of F’s MEDICAL information, let alone  HIV status.  This exemption would apply, should LGO have asked for this information.   It was disclosed willfully and without CONSENT and any legal requirement to do so.  In this case, the Statutory Restrictions on data handling would apply,  as defined in paragraph 46 of the Department of Health ‘Confidentiality-NHS Code of Conduct.’  

THEREFORE, the information should NOT have been disclosed, let alone kept by RBKC.

Ms Parker suggested to F that RBKC would be prepared to remove his HIV relevant details on the understanding that RBKC would NOT be  able to answer any questions from F or anyone else in the future.  F took this as meaning that NO action could be taken against RBKC.

F considered this offer to be absurd beyond belief.  How could RBKC possibly attach any caveats to a deletion of information they were NOT entitled to have in the first place and anyway, should have removed in May 2010,

On 12th January 2015, F told Ms Parker that he could not possibly accept her offer, as the information should have been removed a long ago.

At the same time he told her that should she  disagree with the Department of Health statement dated  26th June 2014,  quoted above, she should contact the Department of Health directly.    F has not heard from Ms  Parker since. He assumes that she  could not be bothered to clarify this matter, or that perhaps  the Department confirmed their statement and likewise, she could not be bothered to let F know,  In any case, F has not heard from her since. November 2014.

CONCLUSION: Had RBKC complied with F’s  amendment to his Information Sharing Agreement, there would  be NO HIV relevant information remaining on F’s files.  It is unclear why RBKC failed to respond to F’s amendment and perhaps told him why they could/would NOT remove his information.  They had ample time to do so; yet chose to ignore this fact.  Perhaps Ms Parker should address this point.

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ASAQ

The Assisted Self Assessment Questionnaire, ASAQ, is the cornerstone of all Adult Social Care provision.  This is based on the provisions of the Department of Health Fair Access to Care Services, 2003.

At the time of F’ assessment, paragraph 47 of the National Health and Community Care Act 1990, NHSSCA.   This was superseded  in 2012 by the Care Act.

However, paragraph 47 and 9 of the Care Act, are identical.  They state that:”When it ‘merely’ appears to a local authority  that any person  may be need of community care services,  the authority must carry out an assessment.

Para 47-(6) of the NHSSCA  permits  local authority to provide on temporary basis emergency care without an assessment, but this  shall be carried out as soon  as practicable thereafter.

Law Commission’s ‘Adult Social Care – Consultation analysis’ 2011, discusses this  matter in some detail.   It is possible that some of the concerns were incorporated in the 2012 Care Act.

The individual should be given the opportunity to complete the assessment document ahead of the official date.  This would give him the time to carefully consider all the questions and select the appropriate answer.

The ASQ asks the individual to rate his ability to perform every day chores, in personal care, household chores, getting around  and socialising.

The assessment proper should be carried out by either a Social Worker, unless the person is suffering from physical and/or sensory impairments.  In this case a properly accredited  Physiotherapist  or Occupational Therapist should carry out the assessment.  Provision for this is made on the ASAQ.

The ASAQ that RBKC claims was used in F’s assessment was NOT seen by F before, during or after the assessment process.   RBKC made sure that this specific document was NOT referred to by its proper name.  It may have been in error, but we believe it was intentional, so as not to alert anone to the existence of the ASAQ. The unverified and unsigned by F, was not even given to him with the ‘decision letter’.

The ASAQ which could have been completed by whomever, whenever and wherever, to arrive at the predetermined result, was not even used in F’s complaints, because he was NOT aware of its existence.  The only, likewise incomplete, unverified and unsigned FACE Report.

F received a copy of the ASAQ on 11th February 2012, when he asked for copies of documents sent by RBKC to the LGO.  It was ONLY on this date that F realized of the ASAQ’s existence.

Later on the Disability Law Advisory  service advised that unverified and unsigned assessment it not safe, subject to  dispute and should not have been used in any decision process concerning vulnerable individual’s quality of life, independence and  wellbeing.

As  could not find any legal advice on the necessity  of signatures,  he asked Professor James Chalmers, who  replied on 29th July 2014.