Health information – where specific personal circumstances weigh in favour of disclosure of a family member’s medical records
S and Queensland Health
The applicant applied for access to a neuropsychology report on behalf of her husband who was suffering from significant memory loss. Queensland Health granted access to a summary of the report but refused access to the full report. In support of its decision, Queensland Health considered that the raw data in the report may be misinterpreted and also identified risks associated with sharing patient results with non-experts and the associated ethical and legal considerations that arise, particularly in relation to brain injuries and personal injury litigation.
On external review, the applicant confirmed that she was a qualified psychologist and submitted that, therefore, there was no risk of the report being misunderstood or misused. OIC asked Queensland Health to reconsider its position on disclosure given the particular circumstances of the applicant. Queensland Health agreed to disclose the complete neuropsychology report to the applicant and the external review was resolved on this basis.
Speaking directly with an applicant can reveal particular facts and circumstances which may affect the weight given to public interest factors and, consequently, impact the disclosure decision.