Medical worker suspended over patient data breach

Patient data breach at Scottish hospital. |  Police investigate claims of nuisance text messages.

Police Scotland are investigating claims that hospital patients received unwanted text messages from an employee who accessed their personal details.

A male staff member was suspended from his job at Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock, following a data breach. Female patients were sent messages from an unknown number. Some of the messages invited the women on dates and also commented on their appearance.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran are investigating the extent of the breach, and have apologised to patients affected.

Patient data breach followed by shock messages

One of the women said she had received messages complimenting her appearance. The sender then sent a picture of himself and asked her out on a date. She added:

I got a letter from the hospital and that’s when it clicked it was him, and that he had got my details from my medical records.

Gemma Erskine, 31, from Kilmarnock, also received a string of messages after being in hospital over the summer. She said:

A couple of months ago I kept getting messages from a number I didn’t recognise. They just said ‘hello’ and nothing else. I didn’t know the number so I didn’t reply. After I got the letter I called the police and they said they were involved.

Reportedly, the patient data breach involved patients who had attended the hospital’s X-ray department. It is understood to have come from within the radiology information system and included phone numbers and addresses.

 The data breach took place sometime between April and September.

Dr Alison Graham, medical director for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, said:

We’re currently investigating and are contacting a number of patients to ascertain the extent of this breach. We wish to apologise to anyone affected by this. We take patient confidentiality extremely seriously and will ensure a full investigation is conducted.

A police spokesman said inquiries are at an early stage to establish the full circumstances.

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