Major NHS data breach revealed
It has been revealed that 150,000 patients have had their confidential data used without consent. The shocking breach comes just one month after the GDPR placed new data protection obligations on organisations operating in Europe.
If you are affected, you may be able to start a claim for compensation.
In this case, confidential personal data -given on the basis that it was to be used to provide medical care - was exploited for clinical audit and research purposes by the NHS, without the consent of patients.
It is understood that the breach occurred due to a software error which failed to correctly record objections to patient data being used for research purposes. Software developer TPP has "apologised unreservedly" for the mistake and has said that it is working with NHS Digital to fix the error.
NHS Digital has informed the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and the National Data Guardian for Health and Care, and investigations are now taking place.
Have you been affected by the NHS data breach?
All GP practices using the software have been contacted to make sure they are aware of the issue. Likewise, any patients affected will receive a letter from NHS Digital. However, while there is no risk to patient care, if the thought of your data being used in a way you did not agree to has caused you distress, you should start a claim against the NHS for compensation.
Healthcare breaches are on the rise
Healthcare is rapidly going digital. And, this online information revolution has seen most organisations move away from paper record keeping. However, as our health and social care system becomes digital, it is vital that there are adequate and robust protections in place to secure the data and information held within it. And that healthcare staff have the knowledge and ability to handle such data securely.
In reality, over the last few years, healthcare has proved a lucrative target for hackers, leading to a rise in medical data breaches. In fact, one in 13 patients will have their records stolen after a healthcare provider data breach.
While in this case it was a software error that led to the data being misused, the distress felt by patients is just as concerning.
How can you start a claim for compensation?
If you have objected to your data being shared by NHS Digital for any purpose other than your individual care (type 2 objections), you may have a claim for compensation. The objections not upheld were made between March 2015 and June 26th 2018.
If you have suffered damage or distress caused by a medical or other healthcare organisation breaching any part of the Data Protection Act, you have a right to claim compensation.
At Hayes Connor Solicitors, we've been helping people to do just that for over 50 years, so we know what it takes to make a successful medical data breach compensation claim.
With strict-time limits in place for making most compensation claims, if you want to achieve maximum recompense in the minimum amount of time, it's essential to act now.