‘GDPR, I want a divorce’

Sound Off: ‘Why can’t a patient receive a copy of their tests for their own records as standard practice?’

“I hit a rough patch with GDPR when trying to find out the results of my dad’s blood tests.” Photograph: iStock

“I hit a rough patch with GDPR when trying to find out the results of my dad’s blood tests.” Photograph: iStock

 

I loved GDPR. I wasn’t responsible for having to implement it, so like thousands of others I used it as an excuse to clear my emails. If I am honest, I was positively gleeful in ignoring notices to re-subscribe to newsletters that I couldn’t remember signing up for in the first place.

GDPR and I were in our honeymoon period.

Recently that changed. My father was in for surgery. His post-op recovery became complicated. My dad asked me to find out the results of his blood tests for him. Before I go any further, I need to add that Irish hospitals, public and private, have amazing staff. However, that doesn’t mean that some patients don’t like to see their own results in black and white.

That is the exact moment when GDPR and I hit a rough patch. My father, according to the nursing staff, wasn’t entitled to see his blood test results because, you guessed it, of “new GDPR practices”.

Smart man

I was politely told my dad would need to send a written request letter to the medical records department of the hospital if he wanted information on his blood test results or any of his hospital reports.

His GP and consultant would get copies sent to them without the need to make a request, but he, as the patient, would need to ask the medical records department. Here’s my problem with all of this: it’s my dad’s blood. He is a smart man, sharp as a tack. What is the issue with him seeing his own results?

GDPR has become yet another excuse to put a further layer of bureaucracy between patients and their medical files. For whose protection? Why can’t a patient receive a copy of all their tests for their own records/benefit as standard practice? Why aren’t patients at the centre of the healthcare system? So GDPR, if this is what you’re really about, I would like a divorce.

Triona Campbell is a children’s TV producer and YA writer.

Do you have something you’d like to Sound Off about? Email 300 words to magazine@irishtimes.com with Sound Off in the subject line

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