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MPs told of new patient record breaches

By Gareth Iacobucci

The Government is under pressure to tighten security over electronic patient records after the chair of the health select committee warned that abuses were occurring more widely than he had anticipated.

Labour MP Kevin Barron demanded tougher action after telling MPs of two new incidents – reported to him by the GPC – in which NHS personnel had accessed patient information without being authorised to do so.

The demand comes after a Pulse investigation showed serious weaknesses in controls over access to patient data, with more than 4,000 NHS smartcards already missing and one in 10 trusts admitting they had no idea how many cards had been lost or stolen.

The national rollout of the Summary Care Record is to take place this year and speaking during a debate over the committee's inquiry into the rollout, Mr Barron revealed examples where NHS workers breaching security controls had gone unpunished.

Admitting he had previously believed the BMA to be scaremongering over the issue, he described one case in which no action was taken by a PCT after an employee gained access to identifiable patient information by persuading a district nurse to disclose her username and password.

‘Something comes out into the public domain, normally via the media, but what action is taken?' he said. ‘How many prosecutions are made and how many employers take action against people who access patient records?'

Kevin Barron MP: health select committee chair urging Government crackdown on IT security breaches Kevin Barron MP: health select committee chair urging Government crackdown

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