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Brown patients demand return of records

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Patients protest at Government House (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Patients from Bermuda Healthcare Services and the Brown-Darrell Clinic met John Rankin, the Governor, yesterday to demand the return of medical records seized by police.

A caravan of protesters went from the House of Assembly to Government House and Hamilton Police Station, to ask for the files to be returned.

A letter to David Burt, the Premier, said patients were “horrified, angry and insulted that the BPS are using our most private medical information against our express consent”.

The letter added that “the breach of patient confidentiality” imposed stress on patients who “already suffer from ill health”.

It highlighted cases that involved treatment for HIV and complications caused by an abortion and that patient privacy would be violated if any were called to testify if court proceedings resulted.

The patients added that the “small size of Bermuda must also be taken into account”.

The files were taken when authorities raided both clinics, owned by former Progressive Labour Party premier Ewart Brown, more than two years ago.

The records were removed as part of a police investigation into allegations that the clinics ordered unneeded diagnostic imaging scans to boost profits.

The Bermuda Police Service were allowed to copy the files of about 150 patients and the courts ruled last month that they could be accessed for anonymous review.

Glenn Simmons, of the Bermuda Industrial Union and a patient at the clinics, thanked the Governor for meeting the patients.

Mr Simmons said the protests were “patient driven”.

He added: “We want our files returned — ASAP.”

Mr Simmons said that Mr Rankin had been “very diplomatic”, but had told the group that the controversy was out of his hands because it was now before the courts.

Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier, and national security minister Wayne Caines also met the protesters outside Sessions House.

They also spoke to Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley when they visited Hamilton Police Station.

The letter was also sent to Sir Simon McDonald, the Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK, and Larry Mussenden, the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr Simmons said the patients’ group planned to “wait and see”.