[2008] LTL 22.09.08 EWHC 2196 (QB)

Medical practitioner (L) applied for authority to disclose medical records of deceased patients to the Redfern Inquiry. Inquiry was conducting a review as to whether tissue taken from deceased employees of nuclear facilities between 1962 and 1991 had been obtained with appropriate consent. L was a director of a company that provided occupational health services to those deceased employees. The Inquiry sought copies of the records he held but he was concerned that by disclosing these he would breach his own duty of confidentiality and sought the Court’s guidance.

Court held the kind of examination that would have been conducted in order to obtain tissue would rank high in terms of intimacy and sensitivity and the presumption would be that a high degree of confidentiality would endure for many years after the death of those concerned. Nonetheless the public interest in disclosing the records outweighed the public interest in maintaining confidentiality of the same and accordingly the Court authorised disclosure to the Inquiry under its general powers.