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First NHS organisation fined by ICO for data breach

Category: Data recovery

8 May, 2012

Aneurin Bevan Health Board (ABHB) in Wales has been given a £70,000 fine for a serious breach of the Data Protection Act after a member of staff emailed a sensitive report to the wrong person, according to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

Last March a consultant emailed a letter to a secretary for formatting but there was not enough information included to identify the exact patient it addressed, as well as the individual's name being misspelt at one point. As a result, the report was subsequently sent on to a former patient with a similar name.

Neither staff member at AHBH had received appropriate data protection training nor were there enough checks in place by the organisation to ensure correct information ended up in the right place.

“The health service holds some of the most sensitive information available," said Stephen Eckersley, ICO's head of enforcement.

"The damage and distress caused by the loss of a patient’s medical record is obvious, therefore it is vital that organisations across this sector make sure their data protection practices are adequate."

ABHB has responded by committing to appropriately train all members of staff on storage and use of personal data as well as implementing appropriate checks in order to prevent a repeat incident.

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Posted by Lucy Hill

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