Clare Lawson prosecuted by ICO for data breaches
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Clare Lawson prosecuted by ICO for data breaches

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Former nurse at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, Clare Lawson, joins the long list of prosecuted NHS staff caught snooping on medical records.

We’ve ran so many stories about the prosecutions and penalties enforced by the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) for snooping. The NHS hold a vast wealth of medical data about us, and it’s all private and often very sensitive. We put our faith in the NHS and their staff to look after our confidential information and not abuse their access to it.

This is yet another prosecution for the improper access of medical records. These kinds of medical data breaches are common for us to represent people for.

Claire Lawson ICO prosecution

Clare Lawson has been prosecuted by the ICO – and rightly so – for the improper access of medical records since 2011.

It was revealed in Court that Lawson had inappropriately accessed the medical records of five patients some 17 times. The unauthorised access included snooping on maternity and paediatric records.

It was also found that she had accessed a further 109 medical records for 18 patients, including a child. She had also accessed the medical records multiple times for individuals who had been discharged. This reportedly included accessing blood results for a friend 44 times and accessing foetal scans.

Outcome of the ICO prosecution of Clare Lawson

The outcome of the ICO prosecution of Clare Lawson serves as another warning to NHS staff that inappropriate access to medical records is completely unacceptable.

As a result of the snooping, she has been:

  • Dismissed for gross misconduct (and likely damaged her career prospects);
  • Fined £400.00;
  • Ordered to pay Court costs;
  • Ordered to pay victim surcharges.

In a statement, the ICO said:

“The ICO will continue to take action against those who abuse their position and potentially jeopardise the important relationship of trust and confidentiality between patients and the NHS.”

What can the victims to about inappropriate medical records access?

Victims of cases where NHS staff have inappropriately accessed medical records – like we’ve seen here in the Clare Lawson case – can be entitled to claim for data breach compensation.

This is not the first case of its kind, and the ICO has had to issue several warnings to NHS staff about the consequences of snooping on medical records.

Victims should be noticed if their medical records have ever been inappropriately accessed. For help and legal advice about what to do as a victim of a medical data breach, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

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