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NHS Trust tipped to receive ICO’s biggest ever fine for data breach

It has been hinted that Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals will be fined a whopping £375,000 for its involvement in a data breach that occurred in September 2010.

Hard drives that the hospital contracted out to be destroyed, were later found to have been sold on eBay by the very contractor it had employed.

A spokesperson for the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said the watchdog had proposed fining the Trust £375,000 over the incident. The Trust has challenged the suggested penalty. “We were the victims of a crime,” Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust said in a statement. “We subcontracted the destruction of these hard drives to a registered contractor who subsequently sold them on eBay.”

“As soon as we were alerted to this we informed the police and with their help we recovered all the hard drives stolen by this individual,” he said. “We are confident that there is a very low risk of any of the data from them having passed into the public domain. We have subsequently received a Notice from the Information Commissioner’s Office proposing a fine of £375,000 which we are, in the circumstances, challenging.”

The ICO recently published an information rights strategy in which it detailed its intention to give “particular regulatory attention” to health organisations as part of prioritisation of its enforcement action.

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