Hospital staff sacked for breaches of data

SIXTEEN workers at the Great Western Hospital have been dismissed or disciplined in the past two years for breaching data protection rules.

Eight members of staff were sacked between 2008 and 2010 for accessing patients’ personal information without permission and a further eight were disciplined by hospital bosses.

The figures were revealed in a report by Big Brother Watch, which showed GWH is one of the worst performing hospitals during 2008-10.

The research conducted by the privacy campaign group showed that a total of 91 incidents across the country involved staff looking up details of colleagues, while 23 incidents involved patient information being posted on social networking sites.

Dr Alf Troughton, medical director at GWH, said the figures proved that the Trust was committed to having processes in place to dismiss people should they breach date protection rules.

He said: “We take patient confidentiality issues very seriously and only those people who are directly involved with a patient’s care or its administration should access health records.

“We also do not allow staff to inappropriately access their own or their family records. If we find there has been a breach we always investigate and take action.

“The figures showing the dismissals that have taken place over a three-year period demonstrate that the measures we have in place to monitor access to patient records are working and that we will action when necessary.

“It should be emphasised that the vast majority of staff adhere to the rules around access to information and we regularly remind them of their responsibilities including the potential consequences if patient confidentiality is breached.

“Patients have to believe that we can be trusted with their personal information or they will not feel able to give us all the information we need to make good diagnoses and give effective treatment.”

But Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said the research highlighted that the NHS was 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,” 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. It is essential the NHS is transparent about these incidents and failing or refusing to disclose that a data breach has taken place is unacceptable.”

In contrast, NHS Swindon had two dismissals in the same time period for accessing personal information and NHS Wiltshire had none.

Comments (14)

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9:35am Sat 29 Oct 11

The Real Librarian says...

QUOTE
Dr Alf Troughton, medical director at GWH, said “We take patient confidentiality issues very seriously and only those people who are directly involved with a patient’s care or its administration should access health records. “We also do not allow staff to inappropriately access their own or their family records. If we find there has been a breach we always investigate and take action. “The figures showing the dismissals that have taken place over a three-year period demonstrate that the measures we have in place to monitor access to patient records are working and that we will action when necessary.
UNQUUOTE
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I have to say this statement worries me, because if that is what Alf thinks it takes to breach the DPA, he is wrong.
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Not identifying callers properly on the phone is a breach.
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Putting the data for one patient in another patient's envelope is a breach.
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Discussing one person with another without explicit permission is a breach.
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Taking patient information that you don't need, is a breach.
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Keeping information longer than you need to is a breach.
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Not keeping records up to date is a breach.
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Im not seeing those in the report
QUOTE Dr Alf Troughton, medical director at GWH, said “We take patient confidentiality issues very seriously and only those people who are directly involved with a patient’s care or its administration should access health records. “We also do not allow staff to inappropriately access their own or their family records. If we find there has been a breach we always investigate and take action. “The figures showing the dismissals that have taken place over a three-year period demonstrate that the measures we have in place to monitor access to patient records are working and that we will action when necessary. UNQUUOTE . I have to say this statement worries me, because if that is what Alf thinks it takes to breach the DPA, he is wrong. . Not identifying callers properly on the phone is a breach. . Putting the data for one patient in another patient's envelope is a breach. . Discussing one person with another without explicit permission is a breach. . Taking patient information that you don't need, is a breach. . Keeping information longer than you need to is a breach. . Not keeping records up to date is a breach. . Im not seeing those in the report The Real Librarian
  • Score: 0

1:43pm Sat 29 Oct 11

malctg says...

I appreciate it can be a worry for many people and records should be confidential. There are too many ways information can be obtained I gather. Not being an expert on these matters it's what you hear. Staff should certainly be able to be trusted. But speaking for myself I'm not really concerned my life is an open book. There is nothing of importance about me on any records, that I would be bothered being known. The Foureyed Poet.
I appreciate it can be a worry for many people and records should be confidential. There are too many ways information can be obtained I gather. Not being an expert on these matters it's what you hear. Staff should certainly be able to be trusted. But speaking for myself I'm not really concerned my life is an open book. There is nothing of importance about me on any records, that I would be bothered being known. The Foureyed Poet. malctg
  • Score: 0

2:52pm Sat 29 Oct 11

faatmaan says...

how many people lie on applications for jobs, insurance etc about their health, how many out their driving have notifiable conditions, perhaps a level of honesty needs to be established, why should deviants be able to cheat their way through life , leaving society to pick up the pieces when things go wrong and the cause is found to be pre existing conditions that could have ultimately been treated or prevented them from being in the wrong place at the wrong time, if you lie on your insurance and you are found out, it is usually declared void anyway,
how many people lie on applications for jobs, insurance etc about their health, how many out their driving have notifiable conditions, perhaps a level of honesty needs to be established, why should deviants be able to cheat their way through life , leaving society to pick up the pieces when things go wrong and the cause is found to be pre existing conditions that could have ultimately been treated or prevented them from being in the wrong place at the wrong time, if you lie on your insurance and you are found out, it is usually declared void anyway, faatmaan
  • Score: 0

5:37pm Sat 29 Oct 11

Phantom Poster says...

faatmaan wrote:
how many people lie on applications for jobs, insurance etc about their health, how many out their driving have notifiable conditions, perhaps a level of honesty needs to be established, why should deviants be able to cheat their way through life , leaving society to pick up the pieces when things go wrong and the cause is found to be pre existing conditions that could have ultimately been treated or prevented them from being in the wrong place at the wrong time, if you lie on your insurance and you are found out, it is usually declared void anyway,
What on earth has that got to do with data protection and the right not to have just anyone looking through your personal records out of curiosity?

You could possibly be growing drugs at home. Do you think that such a possibility gives me the right to wander through your house and look through your personal possessions?
[quote][p][bold]faatmaan[/bold] wrote: how many people lie on applications for jobs, insurance etc about their health, how many out their driving have notifiable conditions, perhaps a level of honesty needs to be established, why should deviants be able to cheat their way through life , leaving society to pick up the pieces when things go wrong and the cause is found to be pre existing conditions that could have ultimately been treated or prevented them from being in the wrong place at the wrong time, if you lie on your insurance and you are found out, it is usually declared void anyway,[/p][/quote]What on earth has that got to do with data protection and the right not to have just anyone looking through your personal records out of curiosity? You could possibly be growing drugs at home. Do you think that such a possibility gives me the right to wander through your house and look through your personal possessions? Phantom Poster
  • Score: 0

3:49am Sun 30 Oct 11

Moth says...

Yeah. And I can name another two. Breaches of confidence are bad enough but when it leads to poor care for the patient and the interference puts that patient's life at risk, then as far as I'm concerned the matter should be put in the hands of the police. I write this through bitter experience. I am currently contemplating pursuing legal action.
Yeah. And I can name another two. Breaches of confidence are bad enough but when it leads to poor care for the patient and the interference puts that patient's life at risk, then as far as I'm concerned the matter should be put in the hands of the police. I write this through bitter experience. I am currently contemplating pursuing legal action. Moth
  • Score: 0

3:50am Sun 30 Oct 11

Moth says...

Yeah. And I can name another two. Breaches of confidence are bad enough but when it leads to poor care for the patient and the interference puts that patient's life at risk, then as far as I'm concerned the matter should be put in the hands of the police. I write this through bitter experience. I am currently contemplating pursuing legal action.
Yeah. And I can name another two. Breaches of confidence are bad enough but when it leads to poor care for the patient and the interference puts that patient's life at risk, then as far as I'm concerned the matter should be put in the hands of the police. I write this through bitter experience. I am currently contemplating pursuing legal action. Moth
  • Score: 0

3:51am Sun 30 Oct 11

Moth says...

Yeah. And I can name another two. Breaches of confidence are bad enough but when it leads to poor care for the patient and the interference puts that patient's life at risk, then as far as I'm concerned the matter should be put in the hands of the police. I write this through bitter experience. I am currently contemplating pursuing legal action.
Yeah. And I can name another two. Breaches of confidence are bad enough but when it leads to poor care for the patient and the interference puts that patient's life at risk, then as far as I'm concerned the matter should be put in the hands of the police. I write this through bitter experience. I am currently contemplating pursuing legal action. Moth
  • Score: 0

3:15pm Sun 30 Oct 11

Robh says...

It is not just hospital staff that treat personal records with contempt it is almost every government department.

If you employ poor management then they will have no idea of what is important and what is not. Most of the time they shirk their responsibilities and pass jobs down the line without regard to data security or the competence of those who end up doing it. When the proverbial hits the fan the never accept responsibility just pass the buck.

I've never known such a time when private and public concerns have been run by so many totally incompetent managers.
It is not just hospital staff that treat personal records with contempt it is almost every government department. If you employ poor management then they will have no idea of what is important and what is not. Most of the time they shirk their responsibilities and pass jobs down the line without regard to data security or the competence of those who end up doing it. When the proverbial hits the fan the never accept responsibility just pass the buck. I've never known such a time when private and public concerns have been run by so many totally incompetent managers. Robh
  • Score: 0

8:09am Mon 31 Oct 11

robertfm says...

Successive pieces of legislation have opened up peoples records to many individuals and agencies without the proper controls in place. The abuses highlighted in the article are probably just the tip if the iceberg.
Successive pieces of legislation have opened up peoples records to many individuals and agencies without the proper controls in place. The abuses highlighted in the article are probably just the tip if the iceberg. robertfm
  • Score: 0

10:47am Mon 31 Oct 11

saymybit says...

I sat waiting to see my GP a few weeks ago, the receptions confirmed a mans address as he was stood in front of her, then his name and then sais, is it a repeat prescription, he replied yes, and she said, I kid you not ,"as it is for anti depressants you will need to make an appointment, I sat there in disbelief, she had given out all his personal details, poor bloke was mortified. Same happens at the hospital, the staff do not realise the patients are sat there waiting for appointments with nothing else to do but overhear, conversations between staff about patients records in front of the waiting room, just awful
I sat waiting to see my GP a few weeks ago, the receptions confirmed a mans address as he was stood in front of her, then his name and then sais, is it a repeat prescription, he replied yes, and she said, I kid you not ,"as it is for anti depressants you will need to make an appointment, I sat there in disbelief, she had given out all his personal details, poor bloke was mortified. Same happens at the hospital, the staff do not realise the patients are sat there waiting for appointments with nothing else to do but overhear, conversations between staff about patients records in front of the waiting room, just awful saymybit
  • Score: 0

7:38pm Mon 31 Oct 11

Moth says...

saymybit wrote:
I sat waiting to see my GP a few weeks ago, the receptions confirmed a mans address as he was stood in front of her, then his name and then sais, is it a repeat prescription, he replied yes, and she said, I kid you not ,"as it is for anti depressants you will need to make an appointment, I sat there in disbelief, she had given out all his personal details, poor bloke was mortified. Same happens at the hospital, the staff do not realise the patients are sat there waiting for appointments with nothing else to do but overhear, conversations between staff about patients records in front of the waiting room, just awful
I have heard this happen too. A few years ago the receptionist was speaking to a patient on the phone. Everyone in the waiting room knew everything about the poor woman on the other end of the phone - including her somewhat personal problem. The awful thing was, most of us knew the woman. I'm sure she would have been horrified if she knew.

I had a run in with the same receptionist over a repeat prescription for a Ventolin inhaler. Told to make an appointment with the doctor. They were determined to get me on at least another two inhalers. I refused. Result was I was kicked off the practice - but not after I let everyone in the waiting room know that their incompetence nearly killed my son about a year earlier (he had kidney failure, they said he just had a virus!!!)

The cavalier way some doctors and their arrogant receptionists treat people is a disgrace. They need to remember who pays their over-inflated salaries - us the general public through tax and NI.

As it happens, I have a nice doctor now in a different practice but have never had to consult her in a professional capacity. The day I got kicked off the original practice was the day I stopped using inhalers. I've never used once since and that was about 7 or 8 years ago now. Always throught they were addictive.
[quote][p][bold]saymybit[/bold] wrote: I sat waiting to see my GP a few weeks ago, the receptions confirmed a mans address as he was stood in front of her, then his name and then sais, is it a repeat prescription, he replied yes, and she said, I kid you not ,"as it is for anti depressants you will need to make an appointment, I sat there in disbelief, she had given out all his personal details, poor bloke was mortified. Same happens at the hospital, the staff do not realise the patients are sat there waiting for appointments with nothing else to do but overhear, conversations between staff about patients records in front of the waiting room, just awful[/p][/quote]I have heard this happen too. A few years ago the receptionist was speaking to a patient on the phone. Everyone in the waiting room knew everything about the poor woman on the other end of the phone - including her somewhat personal problem. The awful thing was, most of us knew the woman. I'm sure she would have been horrified if she knew. I had a run in with the same receptionist over a repeat prescription for a Ventolin inhaler. Told to make an appointment with the doctor. They were determined to get me on at least another two inhalers. I refused. Result was I was kicked off the practice - but not after I let everyone in the waiting room know that their incompetence nearly killed my son about a year earlier (he had kidney failure, they said he just had a virus!!!) The cavalier way some doctors and their arrogant receptionists treat people is a disgrace. They need to remember who pays their over-inflated salaries - us the general public through tax and NI. As it happens, I have a nice doctor now in a different practice but have never had to consult her in a professional capacity. The day I got kicked off the original practice was the day I stopped using inhalers. I've never used once since and that was about 7 or 8 years ago now. Always throught they were addictive. Moth
  • Score: 0

7:53pm Mon 31 Oct 11

robertfm says...

In fairness to my doctors and their staff nothing but professionalism. I will name them, Elm Tree Shrivenham.
In fairness to my doctors and their staff nothing but professionalism. I will name them, Elm Tree Shrivenham. robertfm
  • Score: 0

10:57pm Mon 31 Oct 11

Scrumping says...

robertfm wrote:
In fairness to my doctors and their staff nothing but professionalism. I will name them, Elm Tree Shrivenham.
Its a shame the same can't be said of you liar.
[quote][p][bold]robertfm[/bold] wrote: In fairness to my doctors and their staff nothing but professionalism. I will name them, Elm Tree Shrivenham.[/p][/quote]Its a shame the same can't be said of you liar. Scrumping
  • Score: 0

8:44am Tue 1 Nov 11

robertfm says...

Extended home leave scrumping.
Extended home leave scrumping. robertfm
  • Score: 0

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