NHS campaign to clean up cyber hygiene essential for patient safety

Hayes Connor SolicitorsBy Legal Futures’ Associate Hayes Connor Solicitors

It was recently reported that NHS Digital had launched a campaign which seeks to raise awareness and change the behaviours of staff in relation to data protection.

The Keep IT Confidential Cyber Workforce Campaign aims to educate and encourage staff to take cyber hygiene as seriously as regularly washing their hands in a bid to protect client confidentiality. The campaign launched while the latest ICO figures place the health sector as the leading offender for data security incidents.

Kingsley Hayes, managing director at data breach and cybersecurity specialist Hayes Connor Solicitors, said: “The latest ICO Data Security Incident Figures Q1 2019/20 show that private information is most vulnerable within the health sector. The recent report shows that the industry was responsible for 19% of all non-cyber related data security incidents during this period with 472 recorded breaches within the health sector alone.

“The main cause of these breaches was simple, and preventable, human error. Posting or faxing private data to the wrong recipient accounted for 18% of all breaches, the loss or theft of paperwork or data left in an insecure location was the reason behind 12% of incidents while emailing confidential information to the wrong recipient accounted for 5% of the health sector’s data security incidents.

“Medical information is extremely private, and patients have the right to expect that their personal details will remain confidential and protected as a basic standard. Hayes Connor has represented a number of clients where a breach in the confidentiality of their medical information has led to significant consequences, not least mental health issues and other serious problems.

“We hope that the campaign is successful in cleaning up the way in which the NHS stores, processes and shares confidential medical information implementing the necessary precautions to prevent easily avoidable mistakes.

“The campaign seeks to influence and change behaviours which indicates that there is some way to go before the value of private information is realised by all the NHS staff handling sensitive data.”

Hayes Connor Solicitors was the first firm to serve a representative data breach claim in the High Court following the Court of Appeal’s ground-breaking ruling on 2nd October.  The action against Equifax has a total estimated value of £100 million.

Hayes Connor has been appointed as data protection supplier to the Communication Workers Union and is currently acting for thousands of claimants with data breach action against Ticketmaster, Equifax, Marriott International, TeamSport, Dixons Carphone, Yahoo and the Police Federation of England and Wales.

For more information about Hayes Connor Solicitors, visit the website at www.hayesconnor.co.uk


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