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Ultimately, snooping on medical records is not OK at all. In fact, in the UK, this behaviour can constitute as a breach of data protection laws, and that can land the snoopers in trouble and give the victims the right to claim.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has prosecuted a number of NHS workers for these kinds of incidents. They have also had to issue general warnings to remind staff about their obligations and duties, and the fact that snooping on records could get you prosecuted, fined and sacked.
In terms of the victims, they can have the right to bring legal action for compensation if their records are ever snooped on. We can represent people for medical data protection breach cases like this on a No Win, No Fee basis.
If you have been informed that someone has been snooping on medical records for you, you can be entitled to bring a claim for compensation.
We understand that this kind of incident can cause a great deal of distress, and this is what you can bring a legal case for. What’s worse is the fact that, in many cases, the person who has accessed your records without authority or reason is usually someone that you know. It’s often the case that staff who have snooped on records have done so for friends, family, partners, neighbours, etc.
Even if they’ve been accessing your records out of mere curiosity, this is still a breach of important data protection legislation.
We’re acting for a number of people who were subjected to staff snooping on medical records in what has become something of a large-scale scandal.
Investigations carried out earlier this year by the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust led to letters being sent out to over 2,000 patients informing them that their private medical information has been inappropriately accessed.
The scandal has not been pinned on a singular individual, and it may well be a case of numerous staff accessing records they shouldn’t have done for a long period of time. For some patients, their records may have been accessed multiple times as well.
Hospital workers snooping on medical records isn’t just a problem here in the UK. In 2008, it was reported that 13 hospital workers in Los Angeles were fired for snooping the medical records for singer Britney Spears.
Six physicians were also reportedly suspended following the revelations, which all stemmed from what appeared to be a case of curiosity. It’s also understood that this particular incident wasn’t the first either, as there had been previous incidents where Spears’ records had been accessed years before.
The law about unauthorised access to such information is absolutely clear, and there’s simply no excuse for such behaviour. We have to wonder how often this kind of thing has happened. It could be the case that hundreds of celebrities around the worldwide have had their private medical records snooped on by curious staff, which is a worrying thought. As we know, it can also happen to ordinary people as well, and the scale of such incidents may also be unknown.
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