In December 2021, images were released by Metro newspaper which shows a cabinet abandoned outside Priory Medical Centre in Warwick containing index cards with patient’s personal information. According to the Metro newspaper, many of the index cards found in the unlocked cabinet contained individual’s names, date of birth, addresses and NHS numbers.
It is confirmed that the medical centre had closed in June 2021 and moved to a new surgery around the same time. It is uncertain how long this information had been stored outside the medical centre although, Metro newspaper suggests that the information may have been ‘left for days in a doorway outside the medical centre’. This implies that within this time, people may have gained access to the information whilst the cabinet was available for any passing individual to view.
Despite this, Priory medical centre describes themselves to be ‘committed to protecting your privacy and will only use information collected lawfully in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 (which is overseen by the Information Commissioner’s Office), Human Rights Act, the Common Law Duty of Confidentiality, and the NHS Codes of Confidentiality and Security’. Although, when discarding personal information, it should be done sufficiently and handled appropriately in accordance with legislation in order to protect your personal data.
Recently, the medical centre has changed to storing data electronically although, they state on their website that ‘they retain the old paper records as it is not possible to transfer all data. All information concerning you and held by the practice will be treated with the strictest confidentiality.’ Evidently, this data breach incident shows an inappropriate way of handling and discarding of individual’s personal and sensitive information.
At High Street Solicitors, we deal with data breach claims to compensate for any distress it may have caused to the individuals involved. This data breach is a matter in which High Street Solicitors can review on your behalf on a no win no fee basis. If you think you may have been affected by this data breach please get in touch.
Image source: https://metro.co.uk/2021/12/01/private-medical-files-dumped-in-cabinet-outside-gp-surgery-15696638/