Reddy files sent abroad for review
Some of the seized medical records of 75 patients of Ewart Brown and Mahesh Reddy have been sent overseas for review by two independent doctors, with the rest under way, police confirmed yesterday.
The announcement came after patients of Bermuda Healthcare Services and the Brown-Darrell Clinic were sent a letter by Dr Reddy last week to tell them that “the BPS have undertaken not to access your files”.
But Stephen Corbishley, the Commissioner of Police, said that was not the case. He said it was true the police agreed to take no further action on the files at a February court hearing pending an attempt by the patients to appeal an order made by Puisne Judge Shade Subair Williams to allow the medical files to be reviewed.
But Mr Corbishley said the patients' application to appeal was rejected and the police undertaking lapsed on March 1.
He added: “Since then the matter has been progressing as ordered by the court in the manner as agreed by counsel for both the clinics and the patients.”
The health records of 265 patients were seized from former premier Dr Brown's two clinics in February 2017 as part of an investigation by police into allegations that the clinics ordered unneeded diagnostic imaging scans to boost profits.
The files were sealed on the orders of a judge after civil proceedings were brought against the police by Dr Reddy, the medical director of BHCS, and the clinics. A group of 150 patients, represented by Chancery Legal, were given permission to intervene in the case in November last year. The patients wanted to block access to their files by police and to have the medical records returned.
Mrs Justice Subair Williams issued an order in February which set out a protocol for how the patient files could be used by the police, agreed to by lawyers for the police, the clinics and the patients.
The order said selected files of 75 patients, represented by Chancery Legal, would be uploaded to a secure server by Detective Sergeant James Hoyte, Detective Constable Paul Fenwick and consultant John Ashington, who made the first copies of the medical records.
The secure server was to be set up and managed by the National Crime Agency in the UK and, once the files were uploaded, the BPS would have no further access. Two independent doctors appointed by the BPS would have access to the files in order to prepare expert reports on whether patients were over-scanned.
The order said: “The medical experts shall anonymise only the files in which the expert considers further investigation is required, by redacting the names, address, telephone numbers, occupation and other material, including family history, that might lead to identification of the patient.”
Mr Corbishley said yesterday: “If the clinics and others are under a misunderstanding as to the position in relation to the protocol, their misunderstanding is not due to any fault of the BPS.”
Dr Reddy's letter to patients said: “We will continue to fight tooth and nail to protect what we all believe to be your fundamental, constitutional right to confidentiality, which was unnecessarily breached by the BPS.”
He did not respond to a request for comment yesterday. Dr Reddy and Dr Brown have denied any wrongdoing and have never been charged with any offence.
Chancery Legal was ordered by a judge last month to stop acting for the patients because lawyers Mark Pettingill, a former attorney-general, and Victoria Greening, a former prosecutor, had a conflict of interest.
The law firm was told at a Supreme Court hearing yesterday that it could represent the patients at an appeal against that ruling in the Court of Appeal on June 11. A spokesman for Chancery Legal said last night: “We continue to fight a number of battles on many fronts and are very pleased that the court has ruled we are able to act for the patients on this current appeal.
“We are addressing this latest issue and will fight to preserve our clients' rights in accordance with the court's ruling.”
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