Data Protection Incident

Unfortunately a data protection incident occurred sometime in the evening / early hours of the 11th and 12th of May 2021, during the night a member of the public removed the external post box from the wall outside the surgery door.

We are very sorry this has happened, here at Hellesdon Medical Practice we take the protection of your data very seriously and we apologise that this happened, this incident has been reported to the police and the Information Commissioners Office.

We are asking that any patient who put any communication for the practice, for example a repeat prescription request, into the post box between the hours of 8am on the 11thof May to 7.30am on the 12thof May 2021 contact the practice immediately so that we can arrange for your request to be actioned as we will not currently have a copy of this request due to it being stolen.

As this incident involved a breach of your confidential information, we have also informed our Data Protection Officer who is working closely with us throughout the investigation. Part of our DPO’s responsibility is to assess the risks to the rights and freedoms of affected patients. In doing so she takes into account the loss of control over your data and whether it could be used for fraud or cause distress and the likelihood of this. In this instance we think it may be that the offender is looking to use the requests in the box to obtain medication for an addiction by taking the requests to a pharmacist.

We have therefore taken the action to alert all local pharmacists of the incident so that they can be vigilant to any requests. At this point we would like to assure you that, should someone try and obtain a prescription with your details, that they would not obtain access to any of your medical record, and it would not affect your care. Furthermore, our staff are currently undertaking additional checks when a patient calls in to be sure they are talking to the correct patient.

We are currently looking at adding a new post box, this one will likely be one that feeds inside the practice, we had previously removed this many years ago due to it being continually used by the general public as a waste bin however we believe that it is appropriate to reinstate at this time. We will also be installing a camera that will capture images of the post box and around the perimeters of the practice.

Additionally, we will work closely with the ICO and take any of their recommended actions.

Finally, we would ask that, if anyone saw anything or has any information on this incident, we would be grateful if you would let the practice know.

Should you have any concerns or queries please do not hesitate to contact me, alternatively our DPO can be reached at hannah.calway@nhs.net.

You do have a right to make a complaint to us or the Information Commissioner, if you feel your request has not been managed appropriately. You can call them on 0303 123 1113 or write to them at;

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Additionally, you also have a right to seek to enforce your rights through the courts.