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Healthcare providers are failing to protect the privacy of people living with HIV, watchdog warns

Healthcare providers are failing to protect the privacy of people living with HIV, the UK’s data watchdog has warned.

The Information Commissioner’s Office said it has been forced to hand fines worth thousands to organisations which have released the details of those living with HIV.

Speaking with The Independent, Information Commissioner John Edwards, said: “It is a huge problem [within healthcare] and it’s a disproportionate amount of our business. “That’s partly because of the seriousness and the sensitivity of health information, the huge scale of the health sector and very many moving parts, with many opportunities for information to slip out as it moves from one place to another, and frankly, they’re just not doing well enough.”

In a warning on Tuesday the watchdog highlighted specific concerns over HIV patients’ data being breached through the use of bulk emails in which staff have not used the blind copy function.

The Information Commissioner said: “People living with HIV are being failed across the board when it comes to their privacy and urgent improvements are needed across the UK. We have seen repeated basic failures to keep their personal information safe - mistakes that are clear and easy to avoid."

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Source: Independent, 30 April 2024


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