My mum is 86, and I am her next of kin. I also have POA, but she is fully compos mentis, so this is not really relevant. Mum has been referred to a hospital doctor for investigations into an ongoing problem.
I am currently on holiday, and my husband went home to run some errands, and found a message on the answerphone. It was from the hospital, asking me to call, saying that it was 'about Mrs X (my mum)' with no other information.
Long story short, the call was because the receptionist had been unable to contact her, and wondered if I had an alternative number, or could ask her to contact the hospital.
Am I right to be concerned about this? What about my mother's right to confidentiality? The message was picked up by my husband, but for all anyone knows, he could have picked it up it in front of other people, he is not the next of kin, and even though I am, that does not give me the right to know my mother's medical arrangements.
As it is, the appointment is not about something that my mum was keeping to herself, but she has every right to do so, surely?
If this is the general policy, what about a message about a pregnancy that is picked up by an abusive father, or all sorts of other possible awkward situations?
I asked the receptionist about this, and she seemed to think that as she hadn't given details of the appointment it was ok. I pointed out that I had no right to know about the appointment at all and that answerphone messages are not private, but although she said she would speak to the consultant about the policy, I'm not convinced that she fully grasped what I was getting at.
What do you think?
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