BBC News discusses a Big Brother Watch report claiming, “At least 100,000 non-medical staff in NHS trusts have access to confidential patient records.”
Big Brother Watch, who based the figure on 151 responses from trusts, said it demonstrated “slack security”.
The group says hospital domestics, porters, and IT staff are among those with access to records in some trusts. […]
Big Brother Watch asked every NHS Trust in the UK for the number of their non-medical staff who had access to confidential patient records.
Access was defined as being able to see at least a patient’s full name, date of birth and most recent medical history. No distinction was made between paper and electronic files. […]
A Department of Health spokesman said the report was “confused” and had muddled paper files, which potentially allow any member of staff to see confidential information, and new electronic systems which strictly control access to those directly involved in a patient’s healthcare. […]
The trust with the highest number of non-medical staff with access was Sandwell and West Birmingham, with 2,487.
It spokesman, Nick Howells, said its figure was high because it had included health care support workers, who are not qualified nurses but work in frontline patient care.
He said the report failed to recognise that many people who work behind the scenes, like medical secretaries, pharmacy workers and clerical workers in areas of bed management need access to patient records in order to run the hospital.