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Wednesday, 04 July 2018 10:34

Software error blamed for leak of 150,000 NHS users' data

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The data of 150,000 patients, who had told their GPs that they did not wish to share it, was shared because the patients' objections were not sent to Britain's National Health Service due to errors in third-party software supplied by a company known as TPP.

UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, Jackie Doyle-Price, said in a statement on Monday: "NHS Digital recently identified a supplier defect in the processing of historical patient objections to the sharing of their confidential health data."

The data sharing occurred between March 2015 and June this year.

The software supplied by TPP is known as SystmOne and a glitch within its innards resulted in the patients' objections to data sharing not being respected.

Doyle-Price said: "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.

"NHS Digital will write to all TPP GP practices today to make sure that they are aware of the issue and can provide reassurance to any affected patients. NHS Digital will also write to every affected patient. Patients need to take no action and their objections are now being upheld.

"There is not, and has never been, any risk to patient care as a result of this error. NHS Digital has made the Information Commissioner’s Office and the National Data Guardian for Health and Care aware."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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