A surgery refused to tell a pensioner if his partner was still in the building or not because of data protection.

Arthur Staines, 81, had driven Katarzyna Glowaczewska to Blandford Medical Centre in Braintree for a doctor’s appointment.

When he returned to find her, Mr Staines, of Church Street, Bocking, said receptionists refused to tell him if she still in the premises or had left.

The practice said it was complying with Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Data Protection Act (DPA) rules.

But the CQC and the Information Commissioner’s Office, which gives independent guidance about data protection, told the Times there were no rules preventing the surgery from telling Mr Staines where his partner was.