Types of medical data breaches we can assist with
Over the last few years, healthcare has proved a lucrative target for hackers. And this has led to a rise in medical data breaches. Consequently, the UK health sector accounts for nearly half of all data breaches. But, figures from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) show that human error is the leading cause of breaches and these errors are just as likely to happen offline.
At Hayes Connor, our expert solicitors deal with a significant number of medical data breach cases. During our work, we see many different types of claims, so we understand how medical data breaches can affect people in different ways.
We can make medical data breach claims against:
- Hospitals/NHS Trusts
- Individual healthcare staff
- Private health companies
Where a breach occurs, the consequences for compromising patient data can be severe. The ICO can respond with actions such as financial penalties and prosecutions.
Examples of fines handed out by the ICO:
- A former doctor’s surgery employee who inappropriately accessed the records of patients and staff members
- Bupa was fined £175,000 for failing to have effective security measures in place to protect customers’ personal information
- The Bayswater Medical Centre was fined £35,000 after it left highly sensitive medical information in an empty building
- A former nursing auxiliary for accessing her neighbour’s medical records without a valid legal reason
- A GP practice was fined £40,000 after it revealed confidential details about a woman and her family to her estranged ex-partner.
Read our case studies to find out more about the types of data breaches occurring in the UK.
Making a medical data breach claim
Are you owed compensation for a medical data breach?
Cybercriminals are becoming more and more sophisticated. But this doesn’t let healthcare organisations off the hook. If they have done everything in their power to protect your data, it is unlikely that a claim would be successful. But, if they do not have robust security processes and procedures in place, compromising patient data, they must be held accountable.
This is why we usually wait for the results of an investigation by the ICO before starting a claim.
But in most cases, medical data breaches happen because of human error and a failure to implement reasonable and robust processes.
Crucially, if a medical organisation has failed to protect your personal data, you have a right to claim compensation. Even if you haven’t suffered as a result.
How to start a medical data breach claim
Our professional, friendly team will advise you on whether you have a valid claim against a medical or healthcare organisation. If you are not sure whether your sensitive medical information has been misused or mishandled, we can find this out for you.
Once we establish that you have grounds for medical data breach compensation, we will take care of the whole claims process for you.
Our team will contact the healthcare provider you hold responsible for failing to protect you or your child’s data. Where we believe you were let down by their security processes, we will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve.
To get the claims process started, you can use our simple and secure online claim form to share the details of your situation, and we will get back to you shortly to let you know whether we can help.
To speak to a member of our team now about what to do if you have been a victim of a medical data breach, please call us on 0330 041 5135.
What compensation can you claim for a medical data breach?
You can make a medical records data breach claim if an organisation has failed to protect your personal data – regardless of whether or not you have suffered as a result of the breach. However, where you have experienced financial, medical harm, anguish or anxiety, we can make a more significant case.
A medical data breach, such as an NHS data protection breach, can lead to both financial and identity theft. And the result of either of these can be devastating. With enough information, cybercriminals can apply for credit in your name, set up fraudulent bank accounts and access your existing accounts.
Even if you haven’t lost out financially after a medical data breach, this doesn’t mean that there is no harm done. A personal data breach is a 21st-century version of being burgled. If a criminal came into your home and stole your private information, you would be distressed. So why should you feel any less upset at having your medical data taken?
Being the victim of a crime can have a significant impact on you mentally and physically. For some people, the effects can include a lack of sleep, feeling ill, unsettled or confused. Stress can also affect your friends, your family and your job.
The full impact of medical data breach is not always immediate.
Dealing with many different types of medical data breach cases, we know that the full impact is often not felt until months after the initial violation.
In particular, where sensitive medical records are accessed, we’ve seen cases where experiencing a data breach has resulted in adverse life events. For example, a breach of confidentiality could result in having to move house or area, losing a job, relationship stress and separation, and dislocation from friends and family. All of which can lead to a diagnosable psychological injury, and this often happens months after the initial breach.
Medical data breach compensation after ICO investigation.
At Hayes Connor, we can help you make claims against a wide range of healthcare organisations already fined by the ICO.
Under the GDPR, organisations MUST tell you if they have breached your personal data. But despite this, too often, people still don’t know that their data has been breached until they hear that the ICO has fined a healthcare company. In such cases, it’s worth finding out whether your data is at risk. Because, if so, you may have a claim for compensation.
We can also keep you updated on upcoming and current healthcare data breach claim investigations.
Should you sue the NHS?
Nobody wants to sue the NHS. It does a great job under challenging circumstances. But the sheer scale of the information we share with healthcare organisations is enough to leave us all open to the threat of fraud, anxiety and stress, which means NHS data breach compensation can often be claimed.
Given that the vast majority of NHS data breaches are caused by human error, something has to be done to make the organisations found lacking by the ICO are held accountable for the harm they have helped cause.
Furthermore, in our digital age, all personal information has value. And, when that private data is compromised, individuals have a right to NHS data breach compensation, whether or not they have suffered actual, or potential, financial loss or psychological injury because of an NHS data leak.
Can you claim compensation for a GP data breach?
As with any other medical organisation, GP surgeries are required to keep your data secure and out of the hands of unauthorised third parties. Failing to uphold this obligation could mean that a GP data breach claim can be made.
You may be able to claim GP data breach compensation if your surgery has mishandled your personal data or exposed it by failing to follow GP data protection guidelines.
Can I sue the NHS for breach of confidentiality?
The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018 holds the NHS accountable for how they handle patient data. Under this Act, allowing a third party to access a patient’s personal data is considered a breach of confidentiality and any individual affected by this data breach can make a claim for compensation.
To make a data breach claim against the NHS, the breach can occur in any NHS organisation, including:
- NHS hospitals
- NHS trusts
- GP surgeries
- Private healthcare organisations providing NHS services
How do I report an NHS data breach?
If you believe the NHS has breached your data, and they have not acknowledged it by reporting the incident to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), you can report the incident to the ICO yourself, and they will investigate it for you.
It is also a good idea to report the NHS data breach to Action Fraud, the UK’s cybercrime reporting centre, so that they can investigate the incident as well.
If the investigations are successful, i.e. they show that your data was in fact breached by the NHS, you could then speak to specialist medical data breach solicitors to make a claim for compensation.
Start your medical data breach claim today.
At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we help you to claim compensation and steer you through the aftermath of a medical data breach. Ultimately, we help to minimise the impact on you as much as possible.
With strict time limits in place for making healthcare data breach claims, it’s important to act now to make sure you don’t miss out on your right to claim.