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Medical Records accessed unlawfully by surgery receptionist

A doctor’s surgery receptionist has been handed a two year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £614 prosecution costs after unlawfully obtaining her sister-in-law’s medical records.

The sister-in-law, a patient at a medical practice in South East England, became concerned that her medical records had been accessed after text message communication suggested the sender knew what medication she was taking. An employee of the medical practice has been found guilty of posing as an employee of a hospital and requesting medical record details by fax.

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham commented:

“Medical records contain some of the most sensitive information possible. The medical centre’s receptionist was in a position of trust and abused her position for her own personal gain. This case demonstrates just how easy it can be to misuse personal data.”  The employee, “used her insider knowledge of the healthcare system to blag this information in an act that she believed would go undetected. The message from this case is clear: if you unlawfully obtain personal information there is always an audit trail, and you could end up in court.”