22 March 2023

Health privacy breach referred to Integrity Commission, staff member sacked

| Ian Bushnell
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Dave Peffer

Canberra Health Services boss Dave Peffer: whole clinical records leaked. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

Three staff members at the centre of the Canberra Health Services privacy breach have faced consequences and the matter has been referred to the ACT Integrity Commission.

CHS has confirmed that one staff member has been sacked and the others stood down after the “deliberate” emailing of the clinical records of 13 people over a number of years to an external organisation.

READ ALSO ‘Stop hiding behind investigations’: Mental health minister slammed after patient records’ deliberately emailed’ to unknown organisation

Police are already investigating the breach, but now the Integrity Commission is involved it makes it extremely difficult for anyone to comment, including CEO Dave Peffer, whose 6 March email to staff revealed the privacy breach.

Mr Peffer said in his email that records had been sent by a “small number” of employees to “multiple people” within one of CHS’s industrial partners.

“What I’m talking about here is whole clinical records, in some cases scanned from hard copy, and deliberately emailed to individuals outside the organisation,” he wrote.

The staff who have been dealt with are believed to have worked in mental health.

The industrial partner to which the records were sent has not been identified.

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What next at ACT Health? Obstetrics losing teaching status, cardiology in a mess, massive delays for endoscopy. At what point as a community do we acknowledge that this public health system is in crisis and insist on the govt taking action? There needs to be a genuine independent inquiry–a Royal Commission–to get to the bottom of this because every other ‘inquiry’ and review has produced no change.

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