30/Jul/2014 - Last News Update: 11:01

Aneurin Bevan Health Board fined £70,000 over data breach

Category: Wales

Published: 30th Apr 2012 12:03:12

A Welsh health board has become the first NHS body to be fined for breaching the Data Protection Act after it released sensitive data about a patient to the wrong person.

Aneurin Bevan Health Board (ABHB) will have to pay a £70,000 penalty.

A doctor mis-spelt a name and did not give enough detail about a patient to his secretary, meaning a report was sent to someone with a similar name.

The board has introduced new data protection measures after the breach.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said the report contained explicit details relating to the patient's health and represented a serious breach of the Data Protection Act.

The error occurred when the patient's consultant emailed a letter to a secretary but did not provide enough information for the secretary to be able to identify the correct person.

The mistake was compounded by the doctor misspelling the patient's name at one point, which resulted in the report being sent to a former patient with a very similar name in March last year.

Organisations across the health service must stand up and take notice of this decision”

An investigation by the ICO found neither member of staff had received training in data protection and there were inadequate checks in place within the board to ensure personal information was only sent to the correct recipient.

These poor practices were also used by other clinical and secretarial staff across the organisation.

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

"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.

"Aneurin Bevan Health Board failed to have suitable checks in place to keep the sensitive information they handled secure. This case could have been extremely distressing to the individual and their family and may have been prevented if the information had been checked prior to it being sent."

"We are pleased that the health board has now committed to taking action to address the problems highlighted by our investigation; however organisations across the health service must stand up and take notice of this decision if they want to avoid future enforcement action from the ICO."

ABHB is introducing some measures following the incident including ensuring all staff are trained on the storage and use of data policies, regular monitoring of compliance with data protection and IT policies and new checking processes to confirm a patient's identity before personal information is sent out.

The board has signed an undertaking to address the ICO's concerns.

A spokesman for ABHB said: "We accept the decision by the Information Commissioner's Office and have acted promptly on the points raised in their report.

We have reminded all staff involved in the communication of patient information of the importance of double checking unique individual details foe example NHS number, date of birth etc.

"We have also apologised to both parties involved in this breach of confidentiality and are working directly with the patients affected. We wish to reassure all patients that we are committed to the protection of all clinical information."

Source:
BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2012. Aneurin Bevan Health Board fined £70,000 over data breach [Online] (Updated 30th Apr 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1425488/Aneurin-Bevan-Health-Board-fined-70-000-over-data-breach [Accessed 30th Jul 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • GAA president O'Neill hits back over Grimley claim

    GAA president Liam O'Neill has rejected the suggestion of Armagh boss Paul Grimley that he influenced the decision to ban three Orchard players.
  • Bloody red shrimp invades Lough Erne in County Fermanagh

    A new invasive species, the bloody red shrimp, has been discovered for the first time in Northern Ireland in Upper Lough Erne.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Howards' Way actress Sally Farmiloe dies aged 60

    Actress Sally Farmiloe, who appeared in Howards' Way and had an affair with Jeffrey Archer during the 1990s, has died of cancer at the age of 60.
  • Gowerton family fights autistic daughter's move to Brighton

    A Swansea family are fighting a health board's decision to transfer their 20-year-old autistic daughter to a specialist unit in Brighton.
  • Howards' Way actress Sally Farmiloe dies aged 60

    Actress Sally Farmiloe, who appeared in Howards' Way and had an affair with Jeffrey Archer during the 1990s, has died of cancer at the age of 60.