Caution when you send that email or...

  spuds 23:08 26 May 2005

leave that message on a fax or answer machine, you could be breaking the law punishable by fine etc. Read an article today, concerning my local hospital trust. It would appear that if they need to contact a patient, then through the rules governing the new Information Act and the Data Protection Act, they cannot send or deliver a message using email,fax or a telephone answer machine. The hospital administration can only communicate direct with the person intended.It would appear as though this same rule would apply to everyone, and that includes you.

This point came to light recently, when a patient's appointment was brought forward, and through the administration procedures, the appointment was missed. Patient left details of how to be contacted.Hospital phoned patient, but patient was not at home, and his telephone was connected to an answering machine.Hospital administrator left no message due to certain wording within the two Acts and also patient confidentiality. Sealed letter was sent addressed to the patient, which took three days via the normal postal system. Problem was, that the appointment had been brought forward to the next day after the letter was sent, so patient received information to late to attend the appointment, and this would possible then be recorded as a 'no show' for the hospital records and government statistics.

So it would now appear, that if you sent an email, fax message or left a message on an answer machine saying something like 'Dear Mr Smith, your computer is ready for collection, and its going to cost you twenty pounds', then you could be in contravention of the law. Bring on the 21st century!.

  p;3 23:29 26 May 2005

does this also preclude leaving a phone message requesting "mr so and so" to contact the hospital at their earliest convenience?
If so; I am in for problems:((

  spuds 00:04 27 May 2005

p;3--Apparently so. According to the article, the Acts and patient confidentiality forbids the usage of leaving messages on answer or fax machines including emails. Possibly due to the fact that a third party could have access to confidential information.

Common sense is required, but when rules are rules :o(

  gudgulf 01:45 27 May 2005

Isn't common sense a sackable offence these days???

  Chris25 04:21 27 May 2005

If so, quite a lot of people have nothing to fear!

  wiz-king 06:55 27 May 2005

So who is to know who opens the mail in any houshold or looks at the faxes or gets the emails? If my family get a fax it comes out of the computer, emails are downloaded for all our addresses at the same time and the butler opens the mail - allright the last is a bit of an exageration its the wife who sorts the post.

I would have thought that a simple 'Please contact Mr/Mrs xyl at the hospital administration' would not be a breach of the data protection act or the information act. They could allways ask for the patients nhs numer as a password!

  Monument 07:45 27 May 2005

Lets get some perspective here.

Sending an email, letter or answering machine message saying "Mr Jones please contact the hospital" would have no DPA implications whatsoever. There is no personal data involved.

If a message were to be left on an answering machine saying "Mr Jones you have Ebola please conatct the hospital" then there may be an issue.

The story related by spuds around the appointment seems to be another case of officials taking the position of "I don't understand the act so I am taking no chances at all." Much like the Chief Constable of Humberside when unnecessarily deleting all the information on Ian Huntley.

  Fensman 11:07 27 May 2005

I once received a 'phone call from a hospital, I don't know which one even.
The woman said, "Mrs. Soandso, Ah, Good."
I said, "No, you have the wrong number."
To which she replied as if I was some kind of cretin, "Well this is the number I have ***** ******."
"Yes my number. But Mrs Soandso doesn't live here and never has."
Eventually I persauded her she had the wrong number.
Two days later she 'phoned again and launched into, "Mrs Soandso about your son blah blah blah...."
Most indignant she was when I eventually managed to get her to listen to my pleas of, You've got the wrong number!"
So yes I think some caution is required but, as usual things would appear to be going too far the other way.

  Mr Mistoffelees 14:31 27 May 2005

I leave "common sense" at home when I go to work, I don't want to embarrass the managers!

  Mr Mistoffelees 14:32 27 May 2005

forgot to use quotes.

  p;3 20:21 27 May 2005

whatever "common sense" is, it got left at home today,; and the Data Protection Act; me thinks we rewrote it; well, if we cant phone, fax or e mail; erm..can we try yhoddling as the letters will arrive about two or maybe three days too late, and with Bank Holiday thrown in for good measure

perhaps we can combine today"s clinics wite next Tuesday"s ones , then get the computers to crash then no one will know what time their appointments are , and we cannot tell them over the phone, or by fax, or mail or...??carrier pidgeon ; but can pidgeons be proscecuted under the Act::))))

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