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We deal with a lot of cases that involve NHS medical records exposed in various ways, but this has to be the one of the most worrying and bizarre stories we’ve ever seen.
It’s understood that 40 tightly-packed bales of partially-shredded and cut NHS medical records have been used to weigh down a sculpture in Milton Keynes town centre. It’s set to be unveiled this Thursday as part of the annual Festival of Urban Living, but it’s reported that bits of the papers used in the bales have been caught by the wind and have been blown around the area.
Some of the papers are said to have included visible personal details of medical records, including prescriptions and surgery information. This really is a serious, serious matter indeed.
The issue of the NHS medical records exposed has understandably resulted in a great deal of anger and frustration for local visitors to the area.
It’s possible that the bales may well include their own personal medical information that has been used in the bales to weigh down the sculpture.
It’s understood that festival organisers had contacted CS Recycling in Hertfordshire for help with protecting the sculpture from wind damage. In response the incident, CS Recycling has said that they “solely organised the recycling of the bales, not the destruction of the data contained within the bales.”
A spokesperson for the Milton Keynes Council said:
“We immediately covered the bales and are arranging for their removal. We’ve asked the supplier of the bales to investigate, as it falls far short of our expectations.”
To prevent NHS medical records exposed in such a way, this kind of data should be destroyed properly.
Confidential data destruction of this nature is commonplace when it comes to incredibly personal and sensitive data like medical information. As lawyers who store and process a lot of sensitive data that includes medical information, we naturally use a proper shredding service. So, we have to ask how on earth this has happened? There should never be any occasion where visible medical information can end up in a recycled paper bale; ever.
It’s not yet known as to who exactly is responsible for this scandal, but there could be a considerable GDPR fine when investigations conclude who is to blame.
You may be eligible to make a claim for NHS data breach compensation if your medical records have been exposed.
It’s hard to judge how the Milton Keynes situation will be handled in terms of victims whose private and sensitive medical information has been exposed. They’ll need to be informed, so there could be a great deal of work ahead to find out whose data has been exposed.
It’s a story we’ll be keeping a close eye on nevertheless.
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