A 56-year-old man who worked as a NHS 111 call centre advisor in Southall has been found guilty and fined for illegally accessing the medical records of a child and his family.
Martin Swan, from Pinner, London had illegally accessed records in 2016 and was investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
A complaint against Mr Swan was made, following a disagreement during a 111 call over the distance to a medical centre, prompting him to access the records of the complainant, the complainant’s child and two other relatives.
Mr Swan then accessed the personal records without consent or a legal reason to do so and produced screenshots of the child’s patient notes at an internal investigation meeting in June 2016. He then contacted the father with accusations of falsifying events and was dismissed for gross misconduct in November 2016. In January 2017, Mr Swan contacted the father again and threatened to report him for neglect.
When Mr Swan failed to attend the initial hearing in April 2018, a warrant was issued for his arrest. In January 2023 he surrendered to authorities and appeared before Uxbridge Magistrates Court on 15 February 2023.
Following the investigation from the Information Commissioner’s Office, Mr Swan pleaded guilty to five counts of unlawfully obtaining personal data in breach of Section 55 of the Data Protection Act. He was fined £630 with a victim surcharge and court costs totalling £1,093.
Andy Curry, ICO Head of Investigations, said: “When seeking medical help, people should never have to think twice about how their information is handled and whether their patient records are secure. The NHS 111 helpline offers a valuable service and people need to trust that the handlers operating this service are being responsible with the details provided.”
Mr Curry added: “This case shows that the ICO will take action when personal records are accessed unlawfully. As well as being an invasion of privacy, these actions seriously jeopardised the trust built between the service and its users.”