Vital Interests

‘Vital Interests’ means that you need to process someone’s data in order to save their life. We pray that this will never be the case, but as churches are there to minister to the very sick and frail, including home and hospital visits, you should be prepared.

For example: a church member falls ill during Sunday Service and loses consciousness. When the ambulance arrives, the paramedics ask questions about the injured party’s medical history. You know from church records that they have an allergy to certain medication, and you tell the paramedics so that they will know not to administer it. This is a valid reason for sharing confidential information with a relevant party as you are doing so in order to protect someone’s life.

However, this only applies in cases of life or death where the individual cannot decide for themselves. If the individual is awake and capable of giving consent, then you cannot rely on vital interests, even if consent is denied

Vital interest also applies if you are protecting the life of someone else, e.g. if you need to inform the police that you fear for the safety of a church member’s child.

You can read more on the ICO website.

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