Breaches of hospital patient confidentiality have doubled

Queen's Hospital

Queen's Hospital - Credit: Archant

The trust that runs Queen’s Hospital has seen data breaches by staff almost double in the past year.

Breaches included healthcare records left unattended, documentation lost or found and a breach of confidentiality by staff to a third party.

The information comes after a Freedom of Information request by the Recorder showed that, between August 2012 and 2013, there were 57 breaches – by staff at Barking, Havering and Redbridge Trust.

In the previous year, there were 34 incidents.

At Queen’s, in Romford, there were 40 incidents, compared to 28 the year before, and, at King George, Goodmayes, there were seven – up from three.


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The incidents included one of staff use of a social networking site, one incident of documents filed in another patient’s records, healthcare records left unattended 13 times and documents lost or found 13 times.

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There were seven emails sent to unsecure email addresses. Letters were sent to the wrong address or patient 12 times.

There was one instance of a clinic tape being lost and information faxed to a wrong number and there were two breaches of confidentiality by staff to a third person.

Dr Stephen Burgess is responsible for patient confidentiality. He said: “We take the confidentiality of patient information extremely seriously.

“The vast majority of these incidents were low level breaches but we have robust reporting structures in place to ensure that any potential issue is noted.

“We constantly work to reduce the number of breaches and work with staff to remind them of their responsibilities. Any member of staff who puts patient information at risk, for example by holding sensitive information without taking security measures, could be subject to disciplinary proceedings.”

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