NKS and Queensland Corrective Services Commission
(1993 S0079, 30 June 1995)
In this case, the applicant, who was a prisoner, challenged the decision of the respondent to refuse him access to information about him of a medical or psychiatric nature, and to give access instead to a qualified medical practitioner in accordance with s.44(3) of the FOI Act. The matter which finally remained in issue consisted of observations made by a psychiatrist about the applicant.
At paragraphs 7-9, the Information Commissioner expressed the view that the internal review decision-maker did not have authority to exercise the discretion conferred by s.44(3) of the FOI Act. The discretion conferred by s.44(3) could only be exercised by the principal officer of an agency, or by a qualified medical practitioner appointed by the agency pursuant to s.44(4) of the FOI Act.
After examining the evidence in light of the principles which the Information Commissioner endorsed in S and the Medical Board of Queensland (1994) 2 QAR 249, the Information Commissioner considered this an appropriate case in which to exercise the discretion conferred by s.44(3) of the FOI Act.
In paragraph 20, the Information Commissioner referred to considerations which may make it appropriate for an agency to insist that the qualified medical practitioner, to whom access is given pursuant to s.44(3), is a specialist in a particular field of medicine.