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Privacy Breach – NHS Patient Data breached 5 times every week: Big Brother Watch


A new Big Brother Watch report reveals how medical information is lost, shared on Facebook and how NHS staff look at each other’s medical records

According to Freedom of Information Act requests, between July 2008 and July 2011 there were at least 806 separate incidents where patient medical records were compromised, highlighted a shocking number of incidents in the NHS where patient medical records were accessed inappropriately.

This included:

  • 23 incidents of patient information being posted on social networking sites
  • 91 incidents of NHS staff looking up details of colleagues
  • 24 NHS Trusts saw confidential information stolen, lost or left behind by staff
  • 44 NHS trusts failed to respond to the Freedom of Information request and 55 Trusts refused to release all or some if the information requested.

Despite these breaches of Data Protection policy, just 102 cases resulted in dismissal of staff.

You can download the report here.

Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “This research highlights how the NHS is simply not doing enough to ensure confidential patient information is protected.

“The information held in medical records is of huge personal significance and for details to be disclosed, maliciously accessed or lost and these cases represents serious infringements on patient privacy

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