S.I. No. 82/1989 - Data Protection (Access Modification) (Health) Regulations, 1989

S.I. No. 82 of 1989.


I, GERARD COLLINS, Minister for Justice, considering it desirable in the interests of data subjects, hereby in exercise of the powers conferred on me by section 4 (8) of the Data Protection Act, 1988 (No. 25 of 1988), and after consultation with the Minister for Health, the Minister for Finance, the Minister for Education, the Minister for Social Welfare, the Minister for Defence and the Minister for Labour, make the following Regulations:

1. These Regulations may be cited as the Data Protection (Access Modification) (Health) Regulations, 1989.

2. These Regulations shall come into operation on the 19th day of April, 1989.

3. In these Regulations—

"the Act" means the Data Protection Act, 1988 (No. 25 of 1988);

"care" includes examination, investigation and diagnosis;

"health data" means personal data relating to physical or mental health;

"health professional" means—

( a ) a person who is a medical practitioner, dentist, optician, pharmaceutical chemist, nurse or midwife and who is registered under the enactments governing his profession, and

( b ) a chiropodist, dietician, occupational therapist, orthoptist, physiotherapist, psychologist, child psychotherapist or speech therapist.

4. (1) Information constituting health data shall not be supplied by or on behalf of a data controller to the data subject concerned in response to a request under section 4 (1) (a) of the Act if it would be likely to cause serious harm to the physical or mental health of the data subject.

(2) Nothing in paragraph (1) of this Regulation excuses a data controller from supplying so much of the information sought by the request as can be supplied without causing the harm referred to in that paragraph.

5. (1) A data controller who is not a health professional shall not—

( a ) supply information constituting health data in response to a request under the said section 4 (1) (a), or

( b ) withhold any such information on the grounds specified in Regulation 4 (1) of these Regulations,

unless he has first consulted the person who appears to him to be the appropriate health professional.

(2) In this Regulation "the appropriate health professional" means—

( a ) the person who is the registered medical practitioner, within the meaning of the Medical Practitioners Act, 1978 (No. 4 of 1978), or registered dentist, within the meaning of the Dentists Act, 1985 (No. 9 of 1985), currently or most recently responsible for the clinical care of the data subject in connection with the matters to which the information, the subject of the request, relates,

( b ) where there is more than one such person, the person who is the most suitable to advise on those matters,

( c ) where there is no person available falling within either subparagraph (a) or (b) of this paragraph, a health professional who has the necessary experience and qualifications to advise on those matters.

6. Section 4 (4) of the Act shall not apply in relation to personal data relating to an individual other than the data controller or data subject concerned if that individual is a health professional who has been involved in the care of the data subject and the data relate to him in his capacity as such.

GIVEN under my Official Seal, this 19th day of April, 1989.


Minister for Justice.


These regulations prohibit the supply of health data to a patient in response to a request for access if that would cause serious harm to his or her physical or mental health. They provide also that such data is to be communicated only by, or after consultation with, an appropriate "health professional" — normally the patient's own doctor.