Hospital sack two staff for ‘leaking’ info

Data breaches: Staff from the trust which runs Blackpool Victoria Hospital have been sacked for breaches
Data breaches: Staff from the trust which runs Blackpool Victoria Hospital have been sacked for breaches
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Two members of staff at the trust that runs Blackpool Victoria Hospital have been sacked in the last three years for leaking confidential information.

A new report shows there have been 13 breaches of the Data Protection Act at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in the last three years.

The two most serious cases, according to the findings of campaign group Big Brother Watch, saw a member of staff dismissed.

On one occasion, the breach was described as a breach of confidentiality, while the other related to accessing patient records.

Both breaches were classed as “non-medical”.

Three more people have been given final warnings following investigations into the breaches, while another inquiry is ongoing.

Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “The information held in medical records is of huge personal significance and for details to be wrongly disclosed, maliciously accessed or lost is completely unacceptable.

“With an increasing number of people having access to patients’ information, the threat of data breaches will only get worse.

“Urgent action is therefore needed to ensure that medical records are kept safe and the worst data breaches are taken seriously.

“If the government wants to introduce new schemes which will make the public’s data more accessible, then this must go hand in hand with greater penalties for those who abuse that access.

“This should include the threat of jail time and a criminal record.”

Figures for trusts across the country, which cover the period between April 2011 and April 2014, were released to Big Brother Watch following Freedom of Information requests.

Its report found in some areas the number of breaches rose into the hundreds.

At Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, two of the 13 breaches related to accessing patient information.

The other 11 were for breaching confidentiality. All were classed as “non-medical”.

In four of the investigations it was found there was no case to answer.

In another, no further action was taken while two were resolved with formal counselling.

Big Brother Watch has called for tougher measures to punish offenders in a bid to deter people from breaching the Data Protection Act.

It also wants organisations to train their staff better on the issues surrounding confidentiality.

The Gazette approached the trust for a comment on Friday but no response was provided.