Recently, when a complaint was made to the NSW Privacy Commissioner that Dr Andrew Brooks, Urologist, hadn’t responded to numerous requests from one of his patients for copies of his health records and information, Dr Brooks made a complete fool of himself by making this excuse to the Commissioner – that although the patient may have thought that email requests sent to the email address on his website had got to him, in fact they hadn’t, because his email was set up so that emails from patients were detected and screened out so they didn’t get through, and they needed to send requests by fax.
We would have thought that three issues were raised by this excuse:-
- If, in fact, his email was set up in this way, you would think that his patients deserved to be warned of this in some way – and there doesn’t appear to be any such warning on his website.
- Does anyone want to be dealing with a doctor who is so tricky and devious that he would set up his email in this way, without any warning, anyway?
- Dr Brooks was obviously lying, because it’s just not technically possible to set up an email in this way – when we asked our technical advisers if it was, they couldn’t stop laughing! (If anyone thinks our technical advisers are wrong, we would be most grateful if they could email us.)
But our main point is this – the world has changed so much with emails, blogs and websites and so on, that these days, literally thousands of people can be made aware of something like this so quickly and easily, to the point, that even Dr Brooks, who may come over to some as a slow learner, who may have thought it was OK when just a few people knew, may eventually think that making a fool of himself in this way is perhaps not such a good idea when thousands a going to know.
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