Bultitude and Princess Alexandra Hospital and District Health Service
(1999 S0161, 20 April 2000)
The applicant sought access to the medical records of her deceased husband.
The Information Commissioner found that the medical records were properly to be characterised as information concerning the deceased's personal affairs and were prima facie exempt from disclosure under s.44(l) of the FOI Act, subject to the application of the public interest balancing test which is incorporated in s.44(1).
The Information Commissioner decided that disclosure to the applicant of some of the medical records in issue (those that would assist the applicant to brief an oncologist or carcinogenicist to give an opinion on the aetiology of the cancer suffered by the deceased) would, on balance, be in the public interest, as it would assist the applicant to pursue a legal proceeding in respect of loss consequent upon her husband's death, or to evaluate whether a legal proceeding was available, or worth pursuing.