HSE should ex­am­ine rea­sons for breaches

Bray People - - OPINION - with Deb­o­rah Cole­man

IT has emerged that the HSE has breached se­ri­ous data pro­tec­tion pro­to­cols a to­tal of 113 times dur­ing the past two years.

Breaches in­clude a child’s men­tal health records be­ing faxed to a bank, a per­sonal file left be­hind when it was placed on a care roof and for­got­ten about and an x-ray re­port be­ing found in a branch of Pen­ney’s.

The HSE has said that ev­ery time a breach such as this oc­curs, staff are re­minded of their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties un­der data-pro­tec­tion leg­is­la­tion, but is just seems in­cred­i­ble that this num­ber of breaches would take place.

This amounts to more than four a month. Surely this can­not be the case? We have no op­tion but to place out trust in health­care and HSE of­fi­cials when we need vi­tal ser­vices and so is it the case that we re­ally don’t know where our per­sonal files could end up?

Per­son­ally, I think that ev­ery sin­gle per­son work­ing on the ground in the health ser­vice is grossly over­worked and largely un­der­paid.

Given the pres­sure they are un­der, it is not sur­pris­ing that some­times mis­takes are made. Given that there have been so many breaches of pro­to­cols, per­haps it is time for new sys­tems to be put in place. This can­not be a sit­u­a­tion which can be al­lowed to con­tinue.

If staff mem­bers are prone to bring­ing pa­tient files into shops with them, then it is a prac­tice which must stop - even if it means a re­turn to an of­fice ev­ery evening to re­turn all doc­u­ments.

Mem­bers of the pub­lic can’t be ex­pected to ac­cept that their per­sonal data could be left any­where to be found.

Just a few years ago, a large num­ber of pa­tient files were found dumped in a bin. This is clearly not an ad­e­quate method of dis­posal.

If you can­not trust the HSE with your data, then who can you trust? It’s a ter­ri­ble shame that th­ese breaches have taken place, be­cause sto­ries like this just de­tract from the truly won­der­ful work that those in the health ser­vice pro­vide.

They are forced to stretch them­selves so thinly while striv­ing to pro­vide a pro­fes­sional and ef­fi­cient ser­vice. If data-pro­tec­tion is a prob­lem, then HSE man­age­ment should as­sess why staff are mak­ing th­ese mis­takes and per­haps what pres­sure they are un­der when they oc­cur.

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