In today’s digital world, we often expect data breaches to occur in cyber settings. However, the risk of data leaks, loss and theft involving physical records and documents is also a cause for concern, and companies still need to be vigilant in protecting their hard material information.
Incidents involving physical records can happen a lot. The all too frequent neglect of physical records is exemplified in the case of Westbury House, a Hampshire care home that closed in 2016 after being deemed an unfit care provider.
It was reportedly found to have abandoned confidential staff and patient information in the uninhabited building. The information was only proved to have been removed and secured at the start of December, 4 years after the care home’s closure. Over the course of these years, obvious negligence could have allowed trespassers to breach the building and rifle through the files. A failure of data protection such as this cannot go unnoticed.
Emotional impact of healthcare and social care breaches
As Data Leak Lawyers, we are all too aware of the sensitivity of patient information, and we recognise the immense hurt that can be caused by violations of data like healthcare information. Organisations such as hospitals, doctors’ surgeries and care homes alike all hold some of the most personal and sensitive information there can be, often including details which patients choose to keep confidential for good reasons.
In the case of care homes, residents’ information is often held after they have passed away, so it is vital that such data is carefully protected; not only in respect of each patient’s memory, but also to avoid causing any further grief to their families.
The owner of Westbury House, Dr Usha Navqi, reportedly failed to recognise the already severe harm caused to the ex-residents by the care home’s insufficient care provision, with the exacerbated damage of failing to adequately secure the empty building. Information under care home supervision can include family members’ names, contact details and even photos of the patients and their conditions, so the responsibility of data protection should never be taken lightly.
The important duties of healthcare and social care organisations
Healthcare and social care organisations have an important duty to protect the private details of their patients and residents against things like hacks and physical breaches. While they may not be able to take the blame for break-ins if they have an adequate security system, they can be held to account for any failures to implement secure data management.
Too often, we see failures to sufficiently systematise the management of patient data, either through neglect or laziness. Indeed, organisations seem to forget that there are systems in place to guide their data management approaches.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and overall NHS policies should always be followed to the letter to ensure patient data protection is universal across health and social care organisations. There are even computer systems and software applications that can automate certain data protection functions, such as patient anonymisation.
Claiming compensation for data breaches of digital and physical records
At The Data Leak Lawyers, we are proud of our track record in holding organisations to account for their inept or insufficient efforts at patient data protection.
You could be eligible for No Win, No Fee legal representation for data breaches of both digital and physical records and information.
With our years of experience, we have won compensation for victims of several high-profile medical data breach cases, including the infamous 56 Dean Street Clinic Leak. You can rest assured that we will be fully understanding of the sensitivity of your case, and we will not hesitate to get your claim started as soon as you wish, with the determined aim of winning you the compensation that you deserve.
IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.
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First published by Matthew on February 02, 2021
Posted in the following categories: Claims Cybersecurity Data GDPR Healthcare Latest Security and tagged with compensation | cybersecurity | data breach | data controllers | data leak | database security | healthcare sector | medical data breach | medical records | nhs | personal data