Ombudsman Ron Paterson has released an opinion on a newspaper's request to the Health and Disability Commissioner for information about complaints made about a midwife.
Professor Paterson has found that there was good reason to withhold the information in order to protect the midwife's privacy.
However, noting the growing recognition of the need for more transparency in the health sector, he has developed general principles to guide the Commissioner in responding to future requests for the complaints history of a health practitioner.
Professor Paterson says the principles may also be a useful guide, by analogy, for district health boards responding to Official Information Act requests for a health practitioner's complaint history.
The general principles are attached to his opinion as an appendix.