Page last updated at 16:49 GMT, Wednesday, 3 December 2008

TV presenters in NHS data fears

Jackie Bird
Jackie Bird and six other journalists were told of the possible breach.

Several BBC Scotland presenters have been told their personal health records may have been inappropriately accessed by a doctor in Fife.

The doctor, who has not been identified, is facing charges relating to an allegation that he misused access to NHS electronic records.

Newsreader Jackie Bird and six other journalists received a letter from NHS Fife over the potential breach.

It was unable to confirm how many patients may have been affected.

It said the doctor had been reported to the procurator fiscal and was not currently working in medicine.

In a statement it said no patient data was lost, patient care was not compromised and all patients whose records may have been accessed had been notified.

NHS Fife alerted Fife Constabulary in October about its suspicions that Emergency Care Summary data could have been accessed inappropriately.

I nearly didn't open the envelope which was waiting on the mat as I arrived home
Reevel Alderson

An Emergency Care Summary is held electronically and can be accessed quickly in the event of an emergency.

It contains personal data such as names, ages, addresses, and current medication.

Concerns were raised over patient confidentiality before the introduction of the system. The NHS is working towards compiling an Emergency Care Summary for every person in Scotland.

Jackie Bird, television 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.

Ms Bird said: "I wondered why NHS Fife was getting in touch with me and as I read the letter, which was obviously intended to allay fears, the more fearful I became.

"It was a strange feeling that someone unknown could have accessed my private information."

A spokesman for BBC Scotland said: "This is a matter for the individuals concerned. We do have an employee assistance scheme which offers a confidential counselling service on a range of issues."

It is understood that health boards across Scotland have been advised to review their procedures following the incident.



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