STAFF at a GPs’ surgery have refused to name a mother who brazenly stole an expensive pram – for “data protection reasons”.I'm pretty sure the Data Protection Act is only to prevent access to confidential records, not prevent identification of a theft on the premises. However it does appear that the staff are using a ruling to prevent the police carrying out their duties by simply giving them a name. I don't believe the patients records will need viewing, simply a means to find the thief rather than rely on video evidence.
Police hunting the crook have been reduced to trying to trace her by releasing a CCTV image, despite the fact that her name is well known to employees at the practice.
The woman turned up at the surgery with her own child in a cheap pram.
But she left with the infant in mother-of-two Hayley Skidmore’s £300 pushchair, a limited-edition black Maclaren buggy.
When police arrived surgery workers immediately recognised the thief on CCTV.
But in a move branded “ridiculous” yesterday, they refused to tell officers the woman’s name saying it would break data protection and patient confidentiality laws.
Miss Skidmore, 26, of Cadbury Heath, Bristol, who was at the Cadbury Heath Health Centre on February 5 with her son Lewis, aged one, said: “I think it’s vile that a mother could do that to another mother. I’m still in shock about it.
“The manager told me she had been told not to reveal the name because of the Data Protection Act. I don’t understand it. Obviously the woman who stole my pram was there for an appointment but giving her name to police would have nothing to do with her private medical information – it’s about a crime.
“She should be prosecuted. She shouldn’t be allowed to get away with something like that.”
However interpretation of the Act and its consequences does appear to give jobsworths a whole new level of power to play with and refusing to cooperate is a hallmark of a jobsworth in action. Never mind common sense, rules is rules and my interpretation of them makes me a little tin god, or so I believe they think.
I suspect the police will find the woman, it may be too late to save the buggy of course, it might have been sold on. Yet they could have had it sorted within hours, not days or weeks.
Yet because a manager decides that a name, is covered by the Act, rather than the record, someone has to suffer.
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