‘Suicide reports must remain confidential’

The health inspectorate is no longer permitted to release medical records of people who commit suicide to their family, according to Friday’s Volkskrant.

This decision by health minister Ab Klink effectively overturns a ruling by a court in Dordrecht six months ago which said the family of a patient at a mental health clinic had the right to the so-called suicide report, the paper says.
Since a year ago, psychiatrists and psychologists are obliged to hand over these documents to the health inspectorate.
The mental health institution De Grote Rivieren took legal action to prevent the health inspectorate passing on medical reports to the family of one of its patients but lost the case.
De Grote Rivieren lodged an appeal against the court decision with a special commission of the health ministry which found in its favour.
It now seems that Klink agrees with this finding and does not believe the health inspectorate should have released the suicide report, says the paper.
However it remains to be seen whether judges share Klink’s views and interpretation of the law, says the Volkskrant.
According to the paper, Klink is concerned that the confidential relationship between patients and medical staff will be at risk if files can be made available to their families.

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