Trust receives £90,000 fine for serious data breach

Information Commissioner’s Office fines Central London community healthcare trust after patients’ private data was sent to wrong address for months

The NHS has received another fine from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for sending patients’ private information to the wrong people, reports The Register.

The Central London community healthcare trust was slapped with a £90,000 penalty after the “serious breach of the Data Protection Act” that saw the trust send around 45 faxes over three months to the wrong place.

According to the ICO, the trust had been faxing patient lists meant for St John’s Hospice to the wrong person. The lists contained sensitive personal data on 59 different people, including their diagnoses and information about their domestic situations and resuscitation instructions.

That person eventually told the NHS that they had been receiving the lists and had shredded them.

“Patients rely on the NHS to keep their details safe,” said Stephen Eckersley, head of enforcement at the ICO. “In this case Central London community healthcare trust failed to keep their patients sensitive information secure.

“The fact that this information was sent to the wrong recipient for three months without anyone noticing makes this case all the more worrying.”

The ICO said that the trust didn’t have enough checks in place to make sure that sensitive faxes went to the right people and it wasn’t training its staff adequately on data protection.

Last month, a Welsh health board was slapped with a £70,000 civil monetary penalty for emailing the detailed psychological record of a patient to the wrong person.

This article is published by Guardian Professional. For weekly updates on news, debate and best practice on public sector IT, join the Guardian Government Computing network here.

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