Dickson says lessons must be learnt after data breach

Alliance East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson has said lessons must be learnt after a nursing home in his constituency was fined following a data breach.

An unencrypted laptop containing sensitive personal details about patients and staff was stolen in a burglary after being taken home by a member of staff at Whitehead Nursing Home. The computer held medical information on 29 residents, including mental and physical health statuses, as well as data relating to 46 staff, including reasons for sickness absence and information about disciplinary matters.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has fined the nursing home £15,000 as a result of the incident, saying it had found ‘systematic failings’ in its data protection measures.

“It is clear serious lessons must be learnt as a result of this episode,” said Mr Dickson.

“All businesses and employers can use examples in this incident to see what not to do as regards sensitive personal data but that is especially the case for those in the health sector, who are often relied upon with the strictest of confidential information.

“The fine issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office demonstrates the seriousness of this matter. My thoughts are with the families and loved ones of those affected, who must be incredibly distressed by this incident.”

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