22 Oct 2009

Reform of Privacy Act urged by Law Commission

4:00 pm on 22 October 2009

The Law Commission says a coroner's recommendation for a review of the Privacy Act in relation to mental health patients strengthens its case for possible reforms.

The coroner was reviewing the case of a mentally ill woman who killed herself two years ago, while under the care of the Hutt Valley District Health Board.

It was found her condition had not been discussed with her husband to get a fuller picture.

The coroner has recommended the board review communication between social workers and senior general practitioners to avoid inconsistencies.

The Mental Health Commission says the Privacy Act raises some difficult ethical issues where mental health patients are concerned, but it welcomes a review.