Data handling breaches exposed

Data handling breaches exposed

By Liz Lockhart

An article in ‘The Pulse’ medical journal suggests that the number of data handling breaches across the health service is spiralling as electronic information increases the risk of it being accessed inappropriately, new figures reveal.

The Pulse obtained data from the Information Commissioner’s office under the Freedom of Information Act which revealed that between April 2011 and this January there were 442 cases where NHS or private health providers admitted ‘personal data security breaches’ where they had complaints under data protection law upheld.

Only weeks ago the Information Commissioner proposed fining Brighton and Sussex University Hospital NHS Trust a record sum of £375,000.  This occurred after hard drives which contained patient data were sold on eBay.  This fine has been challenged by the trust.

The article goes on to say that the Information Commissioner has already upheld 286 complaints over a breach of the data protection act in 2011/12 so far.

GP leaders are suggesting that the Government needs to examine the findings to find a solution to stop the spiralling amount of data being processed electronically by the NHS from leading to further and increased rates of breaches.

The amount of data which is currently being recorded electronically is increasing, therefore, the public needs to have confidence that their personal details are secure. 

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