Deal reached over doc's privacy breach

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, Joelle Dally reports on a case similar in some respects to cases I’ve recently mentioned on this blog involving Northern Inyo Hospital and the Guthrie clinic:

The Canterbury District Health Board appears to have reached a deal to avoid legal action over a doctor’s 2007 privacy breach.

The case could have proved a test case for whether DHBs are vicariously liable for their staff breaching patient confidentiality by accessing electronic records without permission, something virtually untested in New Zealand.


A former CDHB patient lodged civil proceedings with the High Court in Christchurch on July 23, seeking a combined $110,000 in damages from the doctor and CDHB.

The doctor, Valerie Pollard, twice accessed the woman’s mental health records in 2007 ahead of a Family Court dispute involving the woman’s partner and Pollard’s girlfriend.

When Pollard inadvertently learned the woman had been admitted to Hillmorton Hospital, she disclosed the information to a mutual friend and again at a Family Court hearing.

Pollard was censured and fined in 2010 by the New Zealand Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal after admitting professional misconduct.

She resigned from the CDHB in 2009.

The statement of claim against the CDHB was on the basis that “through the actions of [Pollard]” it disclosed the confidential information.

Read more on Stuff.

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