IT error caused sharing of 150,000 NHS patients’ data against their will
Parliamentary statement reveals that problem with SystmOne application used by GPs meant individuals opt-out choices were not respected
A “coding error” in a software system used by GPs led NHS Digital to share the data of 150,000 patients against their will.
A written parliamentary statement from minister for mental health Jackie Doyle-Price reveals that the data was passed on as a result of a “defect” in the SystmOne clinical records system developed by UK IT company TPP and used by thousands of GPs across the country. The problem affected information concerning patients’ choice to opt out of having their confidential data shared for non-care-related purposes, such as research.
For more than three years up to June 2018, data on these opt-outs was not properly sent from SystmOne to NHS Digital. This failure, in turn, led to NHS Digital not upholding these opt-outs in its use of patient data.
“Since being informed of the error by TPP, NHS Digital acted swiftly and it has now been rectified,” said Doyle-Price. “NHS Digital made the Department of Health and Social Care aware of the error on 28 June. NHS Digital manages the contract for GP Systems of Choice on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care.”
- MPs raise ‘serious concerns’ about NHS Digital's use of patient data
- NHS launches programme to take in private healthcare data
- GP contract promises improved data-collection service and £10m for e-referral uptake
She added: “TPP has apologised unreservedly for its role in this matter and has committed to work with NHS Digital so that errors of this nature do not occur again. This will ensure that patients’ wishes on how their data is used are always respected and acted upon.”
Doyle-Price said that there “has never been, any risk to patient care as a result of this error”. Nonetheless, the Information Commissioner’s Office and the National Data Guardian for Health and Care have been informed. It is understood that the ICO is investigating the matter.
About 150,000 patients who registered an opt-out – known as a type 2 objection – have been affected by the error.
Nic Fox, director of primary and social care technology at NHS Digital, said that while “the problem has been resolved for any future data disseminations”, affected patients would be contacted presently.
“This issue would not be able to occur using the new national data opt-out, which has been recently introduced and puts the individual in direct control of their data-sharing preferences,” he added. “Data-sharing preferences can now be registered via a simple to use website or by phone or paper form, with the information going directly to NHS Digital, rather than being recorded by a GP on a third-party system.”
Public Health Wales says leak that affected more than 18,000 people to have tested positive was attributable to ‘human error’
National Data Guardian report finds that as many as a third of population lack trust in government use of data
Department’s annual report shows, for the first time in many years, documents or data lost from a secure government building had to be reported to the ICO. PublicTechnology finds out more...
The spread of online misinformation during the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated a public health crisis. PublicTechnology digs into a recent parliamentary inquiry to find out...
Accessibility requirements aren’t restrictions that need to be overcome - they’re guidelines to improve online experiences for everyone, says Jadu VP Richard Friend
2020 has been a year of unprecedented change for the UK public sector. Today’s agile working technology enables you to meet citizen needs in this challenging operating environment by empower your...
Organisations need to understand that a single cybersecurity solution alone is not infallible and instead should move towards a multi-layered approach to security, according to experts from...
SAP Concur says it's time for the public sector to embrace more efficient invoice management technology