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Dublin: 4°C Sunday 11 April 2021

Hospital data breach wider than Tallaght, says CEO: report

Meanwhile, a Freephone number has been launched for Tallaght Hospital patients worried about their information.

Tallaght Hospital.
Tallaght Hospital.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

TALLAGHT HOSPITAL’S acting chief has indicated that it is not the only hospital to have suffered a data breach of patient information, according to the Irish Times.

In a letter to consultants, John O’Connell suggested that the “scope” of the situation was “much larger than [Tallaght Hospital]“.

The hospital had previously denied reports by RTÉ last month claiming it had reported a data breach to the Data Protection Commissioner, but has now admitted that patient information may have been access by an unauthorised party.

The security issue concerns medical consultation reports and letters which the hospital sent to the Philippines for transcription.

The Independent reports today that hospital will continue to outsource material to the Philippines despite fears of a security breach. However, the hospital is using a different provider for the outsourcing service and has terminated its contract with the Irish-based Uscribe.

According to Assistant Data Protection Commissioner Diarmuid Hallinan, the hospital’s guidelines to doctors advise them to use patient codes instead of names. Hallinan told the Independent there were no signs that anyone had offered leaked Irish patient data for sale.

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RTÉ reports that a Freephone number for people concerned about the alleged security breach opens this morning for people concerned about their information. The number is 1800 283 059 and the line will be open from 9am until 5pm.

The hospital says it has contacted gardaí for assistance in investigating the breach.

Read more: Tallaght Hospital admits patient medical records were breached >

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