Medical records of Sir Alex Ferguson accessed illegally
| Medics access former football manager’s medical records out of “personal curiosity”.
Staff at a Manchester hospital are under investigation for allegedly accessing Sir Alex Ferguson’s medical records while he was there. Sir Alex had undergone emergency surgery on 5 May, following a brain haemorrhage. The former Manchester United manager was in intensive care until being discharged in June.
Unauthorised access to medical records
The investigation is believed to involve two doctors, two nurses, and a senior medical consultant, at Salford Royal Hospital. None of these medics were involved in Sir Alex’s care, and therefore were not authorised to access his medical records.
Salford Royal NHS Trust would not confirm the identity of the patient involved, but said an “HR process” was ongoing. The trust also said it had “reported the alleged breaches to the Information Commissioner’s Office” (ICO).
Dr Chris Brookes, chief medical officer for the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, which runs Salford Royal, said:
We can confirm that a number of staff who work at Salford Royal are currently subject to investigation in relation to an information governance breach. All of our patients have the right to expect that their information will be looked after securely and accessed appropriately. We take patient confidentiality extremely seriously … and will take the appropriate action to ensure staff understand the seriousness of unauthorised access.
If allegations are found to be true, the staff would be in breach of patient confidentiality and data protection laws.
Salford Royal reportedly contacted Sir Alex, 76, to apologise ‘unreservedly to the patient and their family.’
In 2017, the ICO publicly warned NHS staff about the “potentially serious consequences of prying into patients’ medical records without a valid reason”. According to the ICO, four NHS staff have been prosecuted or fined since, for accessing patient’s medical information without authorisation.
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