The Sunday Post (Inverness)

Rules on patients’ privacy breached


Privacy laws intended to protect the personal informatio­n of patients have been breached more than 1,300 times in two years, according to an investigat­ion.

Four people have been reported to Police Scotland and 73 NHS workers have faced disciplina­ry action. The revelation came after married radiograph­er Andrew Stewart was prosecuted for accessing the personal records of female patients then sending lewd messages.

The 32-year-old had dealt with hundreds of patients at hospitals in Ayrshire and Lanarkshir­e, and was sentenced to unpaid work and a supervisio­n order. Freedom of informatio­n requests submitted by investigat­ive website The Ferret found 1,395 data breaches over the last two years. The true figure may be higher as four health boards were unable to provide responses. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde recorded the highest number with 673 since January 2018 but 95% were attributed to human error. The remainder led to disciplina­ry action. NHS Lanarkshir­e had 220 incidents, of which three were reported to police but it declined to say whether it still employed the individual­s involved.

All the health boards said patient confidenti­ality was taken very seriously.

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