NHS staff personal data leaked in latest data breach

The details of hundreds of junior doctors has been mistakenly published online by an NHS trust, according to the Health Service Journal.

In wake of this news – an instance of another data protection failure – Phil Codd, managing director Ireland & UKI Regional Director at SQS Group, is calling for the NHS to prioritise quality above all else when it comes to IT.

>See also: Cyber security in the NHS: useless operating systems and legacy applications

“The news that NHS staff’s personal details have been made public due to a data breach shows vulnerabilities in the NHS’ IT infrastructure. While patient data has not been leaked, the details of hundreds of junior doctors mistakenly being published online by an NHS trust shows that there is still much more to learn since the WannaCry cyber attack.

“It has always been important to protect personal data, and the reality of today’s ever changing digital environment, organisations need to fully understand their data models; get to grips with their potentially unstructured and poorly managed data, and put processes in place to keep it safe. Defining, implementing and rigorously testing their data management procedures will enable institutions to get it right, to live up to their data privacy policies and to prevent avoidable data breaches in the future.”

He also emphasised the difficulty the NHS has been placed under to cut costs, while embracing digital transformation to improve services. This forces the institution to outsource IT contracts, which may be a major factor as to why the NHS seems to be experiencing so many high-profile IT problems.

>See also: Why GDPR is an opportunity for digital transformation in the NHS


“With the current turbulent British political landscape, many public sector organisations have been placed under pressure to cut costs and embrace digital methods to improve services. In doing so, data integrity and quality have not been appropriately prioritised.”

“Quality ensures that the necessary safeguards are in place to protect staff and patients during digital change. This data leak is a stark reminder of the risks associated with providing and managing people’s data, and suggests that the lack of quality focus within organisations can, and will, harm trust – something that the NHS can ill afford.”


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...