Ambulance chasing personal injury solicitors have been in the news a lot recently, not least because they are blamed for pushing up the price of motor insurance premiums.
Now it is the turn of employees of personal injury firms to come under the spotlight. Martin Campbell, who used to work for a personal injury claims firm in Bury, obtained the personal details of 29 people who were treated at a walk-in centre. He obtained the details from his then girlfriend and used the data to generate leads for his employer.
Bury Primary Care Trust launched an investigation after patients complained that they had been contacted by a man encouraging them to lodge a claim for personal injury compensation. The investigation discovered that the girlfriend had unauthorised access to patient files and Campbell was fined £1,050 and ordered to pay an additional £1,160 in costs.
Medical information is confidential and patients expect that health workers will only view their records if there is a genuine need to do so. Abusing the system is clearly wrong and can be very distressing for the victims. Campbell put his own greed ahead of patient’s right to privacy and his prosecution should deter others who seek to obtain information illegally.
The Information Commissioner’s Office now has the power to fine companies that breach the Data Protection Act up to £500,000. However, the behaviour of individuals is governed under a separate section of the Data Protection Act 1998.