Written Question on Criminal Investigation: Medical Records

Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.

See more on: "Criminal Investigation: Medical Records"
Date Title Questioner
24 Jan 2019, 5:40 p.m. Criminal Investigation: Medical Records Neil Coyle


To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the Government has plans to ensure police forces can access the medical records of suspects in (a) rape, (b) transmitted disease, (c) grievous bodily harm with intent and (d) other cases.

Answer (Mr Nick Hurd)

The general position is that if information is given in circumstances where it is expected that a duty of confidence applies, that information cannot normally be disclosed without the information provider's consent.

Three circumstances making disclosure of confidential information lawful are:

• where the individual to whom the information relates has consented;
• where disclosure is in the public interest; and
• where there is a legal duty to do so, for example a court order.

So, under the common law, a healthcare provider wishing to disclose a patient's personal information to anyone outside the team providing care should first seek the consent of that patient.

There are legal gateways for sharing data and the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE and Codes issued under the Act). These include a range of explicit and implied powers enabling the police to seek and share information, in pursuit of their policing purposes, including preventing a crime and protecting persons from harm.

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