NHS staff breach patient data daily

Rebecca Todd writes in eHealthcare Insider:

NHS staff breached data protection policies on average five times a week over the past three years with some posting patient information on Facebook.

Freedom of Information Act requests by privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch reveal at least 806 separate incidents at 152 NHS Trusts where patient medical records were compromised between in the last three years.

Patient information was posted on social networking sites in 23 incidents, including one at Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust where a medical staff member posted a picture of a patient on Facebook. That staff member was one of 102 who were dismissed as a result of the breaches.

The report also identifies 129 incidents of NHS staff accessing or disclosing the medical details of a colleague or family member.

Big Brother Watch director Nick Pickles said the research highlighted how the NHS was “simply not doing enough to ensure confidential patient information is protected”.

“The information held in medical records is of huge personal significance and these cases represent serious infringements on patient privacy,” he said.

“As the summary care record scheme is rolled out and an increasing number of people have access to private patient information, urgent action is needed to ensure that we can be sure our medical records are safe.”