Despite uncovering thousands of cases of patient information being wrongly disclosed to third parties a recent review into the sharing of medical records with private sector companies endorses the practice.
The Daily Telegraph reports that the review, conducted by Sir Nick Partridge found that “tens of thousands of records were wrongly passed to third parties”. However Sir Nick argued that the proper checks and balances were now in place.
This is not the first time questions have been raised about the NHS’ ability to keep patient data secure. Earlier this month Big Brother Watch published NHS Data Breaches, a report into the subject (PDF). It found that data security is an ongoing problem, over the last four years patient confidentiality had been breached at least 7,255 times.
The major issue to be resolved is the level of deterrent the Data Protection Act 1998 poses to individuals who are intent on breaking its provisions. Currently the courts can only hand down a fine to those guilty of maliciously breaching the terms of the Act.