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Concern over medical record access

5 December 2008

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A doctor may have been inappropriately checking the medical records of several Scottish BBC presenters, it has emerged.

The seven journalists received letters from NHS Fife telling them personal health records may have been accessed by a clinician in the county without their permission, the BBC reported.

NHS Fife alerted Fife Constabulary in October about concerns that a doctor employed by the health board may have misused access to NHS electronic records.

The health authority said it understands that the clinician concerned has been reported to the Procurator Fiscal – the public prosecutor in Scotland.

The data involved was Emergency Care Summaries (ECS), which give basic personal information such as name, age and address and any current drug prescriptions.

If a patient needs urgent medical help, such as at a hospital A&E department, the doctor treating them can access the summary to find up to date details about them. Any doctor accessing the records must ask the consent of the patient, unless they are unconscious.

ECS data is held electronically and the summaries are being compiled for all patients in Scotland.

BBC newsreader Jackie Bird, TV presenter Catriona Shearer, TV and radio presenter Abeer MacIntyre, weather presenter Judith Tonner, home affairs correspondent Reevel Alderson, environment correspondent Louise Batchelor and reporter Elizabeth Quigley each received a letter from NHS Fife, the BBC reported.

Copyright © Press Association 2008

NHS Fife