Privacy and Health Research. United Kingdom

05/01/1997

Basic privacy law: Data Protection Act (1984), and Access to Health Records Act (1990). Authority: Data Protection Registrar.

Regarding implementation of the E.U. Directive, early in 1996 the Home Office circulated a "consultation document" inviting input on a range of issues from interested parties. The Home Office has been taking consideration of all of the responses and preparing to propose a strategy.

In April 1996 the Data Protection Registrar published a thought-provoking document comparing the E.U. Directive and U.K. law., and raising many questions.91 In her recommend- ation to the Home Office a few months later, the Registrar argued that "we need the seamless approach which only new primary legislation can offer."92

A "Disclosure and Use of Personal Health Information Bill," developed by an interprofessional working party led by the British Medical Association, was introduced into the House of Lords in March 1996 by Lord Walton. But it seems not to have progressed very far.

Of course, now the new Labour government will have to develop its policies in this area.


(91) U.K. Data Protection Registrar, Questions to answers: Data Protection and the E.U. Directive 95/46/EC (Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF, April 1996).

(92) U.K. Data Protection Registrar, Our Answers: Data Protection and the E.U. Directive 95/46/EC (Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF, July 1996).