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Serving millions of patients across the UK, the NHS stores swathes of medical records in its databases. When correctly configured and protected, these databases can ensure that patients’ records are not subjected to unauthorised access or misuse. But, when errors are made, leaving patient records unsecured can have profound consequences for those affected.
The sensitivity of medical data can make it a prime target for hackers and fraudsters, so healthcare organisations have a duty to their patients to ensure that no private records fall into the wrong hands. However, even minor cybersecurity mistakes have been known to cause mass information exposure in the NHS.
Those affected by healthcare data breaches can be severely affected, but making a claim can enable victims to recover compensation for the harm caused. We have helped many victims of medical data breaches to make compensation claims, so contact us for free, no-obligation advice if you think you may have a claim to make.
While some may consider system insecurities as technological failures, it can also be operator errors that can be responsible for leaving patient records unsecured. For example, the NHS Digital Data Breach stemmed from blaming an issue on a an IT coding problem that saw 150,000 patients’ information potentially used without their permission, as their request for their information not to be used for research purposes was not correctly recorded by the system.
In another healthcare data breach, 2019 saw the revelation that employees at the Greater Manchester NHS had been accessing patient information without reason to do so, affecting some 2,000 patients. Although this was not an example of leaving patient records unsecured, it does show that the security of systems can be compromised by unauthorised activity from within healthcare organisations themselves.
For the affected patients, it can be very distressing to hear that your hospital or doctors’ practice has been responsible for leaving patient records unsecured. If your information was stored in an unsecured cloud database then it could have been accessed by hackers seeking cybersecurity vulnerabilities, who may go on to misuse it for criminal purposes.
Following the exposure of medical records, victims can be targeted with all kinds of malicious communication, include phishing emails, scam calls, or even abusive messages. The sensitivity of patient information means that it can also provide strong fuel for blackmail. Sensitive health information, whether it concerns disability information or HIV status details, can be intensely private. As such, victims of data exposure may be more likely to succumb to ransom demands if they think that it will protect their information from being leaked online.
If you have been on the receiving end of a healthcare organisation leaving patient records insecure, you may be eligible to claim compensation for any harm caused. Whatever causes a healthcare data breach, you have a right to expect that your information is protected by your hospital or local practice. You could be compensated for the distress and/or financial losses or expense caused by the breach.
To find out more about making acclaim from a team of expert data breach lawyers, contact us today for free, no-obligation advice.
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