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November 14, 2014

NHS suffering six breaches a day since 2011

Only 32 resignations occurred following more than 7,000 abuses of data.

By Jimmy Nicholls

The National Health Service (NHS) has suffered six data breaches a day for the past three years, according to a report by privacy group Big Brother Watch (BBW).

A mere 32 resignations occurred as a result of the 7,255 leaks recorded over the period, which included data being posted to social media, loss or theft, and staff accessing their own records.

Emma Carr, director of BBW, said: "The information held in medical records is of huge personal significance and for details to be wrongly disclosed, maliciously accessed or lost is completely unacceptable.

"With an increasing number of people having access to patients’ information, the threat of data breaches will only get worse. Urgent action is therefore needed to ensure that medical records are kept safe and the worst data breaches are taken seriously."

BBW has called for judges to be granted the option of prison time during sentencing, a recommendation also made by the information commissioner Christopher Graham only this week.

It is also asking that all those who carry out serious data breaches be handed criminal records, and has suggested that data protection training in the NHS needs to be updated.

A spokesperson for the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said: "The health service holds some of the most sensitive personal information available.

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"It is therefore vitally important that organisations across the NHS make sure that they are taking adequate measures to keep patients’ information secure."

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