Breach of privacy at Cupar GP practice
Patients of a Cupar GP practice have expressed shock that someone has been snooping in their private medical records.
The incident came to light after Bank Street Medical Group issued letters to a number of patients apologising for the breach which involved a staff member ‘inappropriately’ accessing records.
It is understood those receiving letters appear to be primarily female, as well as some staff who are also patients at the practice run by Dr Alasdair Gray and partners.
The letter says there is no reason to suspect that information has been passed on to any third party.
Springfield woman Shonagh Neville said she was shocked to receive the letter and immediately called the surgery to find out more.
“I have so many questions about why someone would do this and how they could do it,” she said.
“I worked at the practice for 11 years and I know staff have some access to records, but why was someone looking at mine repeatedly and ‘inappropriately’?”
Mrs Neville said she was very disappointed by the way the surgery dealt with her request for more information and feels she has lost trust in them.
“My privacy has been totally invaded and it is worrying,” she said.
“I will be looking into moving to another practice.”
“The letter says the situation has been addressed in an ‘appropriate manner’, but what does this mean?”
Another patient, who did not want to be named, said both she and her two children had received letters.
She said: “I eventually got hold of the practice manager on Monday and was told the person who did it had been dealt with, but not sacked.
“The practice manager said she didn’t know why the person had done it, but she didn’t think they had done anything with the information.
“She said the practice had contacted the British Medical Association and were apparently within their rights not to tell us anything.
“I’m absolutely fuming because the person could have done anything with that information.
“The practice have always been very good with me and my family but this could well be a criminal matter.”
When contacted by the Fife Herald, Bank Street Medical Group said it was alerted to the fact that a staff member may have inappropriately accessed medical records.
Asked to explain what it meant by ‘inappropriate’, the spokesperson said the level and pattern of access to records was deemed inappropriate.
The spokesperson would not elaborate on how many people had been affected.
A statement issued said: “Prompt action was taken and a full investigation has been carried out in accordance with all relevant legislation, guidelines and internal procedures.
“No patient data has been lost and patient care has not been comprised.
“We have notified all patients whose records may have been accessed and have apologised to those affected.
“Bank Street Medical Group takes any breach of its confidentiality policy extremely seriously and any breach will be investigated, with disciplinary action taken where necessary.
“Our patients can be reassured that there has been a thorough investigation and appropriate response and can continue to have the utmost confidence in the service they receive from the practice.”
Dr Stella Clark, medical director primary care services, said: “NHS Fife is aware of the investigation carried out by the practice.
“We are satisfied that the practice has taken all appropriate action.”
Fife Police said they had not received any complaints relating to the incident.
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Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
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