Lawyers probe Wigan NHS Trust data security breach

The Information Commissioners Office has launched a criminal investigation
The Information Commissioners Office has launched a criminal investigation

The head of a law firm has criticised Wigan’s NHS Trust over a data breach which saw more than 2,000 confidential patient records accessed.

Last week the WWL revealed that more than 2,000 confidential patient records and letters were sent out to victims of the data breach, explaining that personal information was viewed on multiple occasions by an employee who had no legitimate reason to access the files and were not permitted to do so.

It is possible that clinical documentation such as blood results, care pathways, medication, secretary letters and discharge letters have been accessed.

As a result the Information Commissioner’s Office has launched a criminal investigation.

Several of those affected have contacted consumer action firm Your Lawyers who have previously supported patients affected by similar data breaches.

Aman Johal, at director Your Lawyers, said: “We have been contacted for help by people affected by this scandal.

“When we represent victims whose medical records have been snooped on, it’s usually by people that they know. To hear that one Trust has had multiple members of staff inappropriately accessing the records for some 2,000 individuals is extremely alarming.

“If this is a case of several staff abusing their access powers to spy on the personal and sensitive medical data of people they know, the Trust has a lot to answer for.

“This would be a wide-scale example of a matter that the ICO has had to prosecute staff for in the past. Clearly, the WWL systems are not at all effective.”

WWL refused to comment on the matter.