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Third NHSO data breach prompts external review

Michael Dickson, NHS Orkney interim chief executive, has launched an external review into data handling at NHS Orkney.

Yet another data breach has occurred at NHS Orkney — the third such incident in just six weeks.

The health authority’s new interim chief executive, Michael Dickson, has apologised for the breach, which saw a letter containing a patient’s personal information given to the wrong patient. News of the incident, which came after The Orcadian went to press on this Thursday’s edition, has prompted an external review into data handling procedures at NHS Orkney.

“It is with disappointment that I have been alerted, once again, to another data breach within NHS Orkney,” Mr Dickson said, this evening, Wednesday, in a statement to The Orcadian. 

“This time, on July 7, a patient’s discharge letter was inadvertently given to another patient. 

“The circumstances of the incident are currently being investigated so we can understand how this occurred.

“The recent run of data handling incidents indicates to me there is a problem within NHS Orkney that extends beyond minor errors that are quickly rectified. 

“I have requested an external rapid review of the Board’s standards, policies, procedures, training and leadership in this area. 

“Whilst I appreciate NHS Orkney handle thousands of pieces of information a day without incident, lapses such as these are not acceptable. I understand why the people of Orkney will feel angry and concerned by this latest breach. I want to reassure them that steps are being taken to identify why these mistakes continue to happen and that corrective action is being taken.​

“To the patients involved, I apologise. There is no excuse for this and it will be dealt with.”