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Patients contacted after hospital records inappropriately accessed

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shutterstock_160262162HYWEL DDA University Health Board has written to a large number of patients, to provide them with information and support after an investigation identified a member of staff had inappropriately accessed electronic hospital records.

The individual, a nurse, has since been dismissed after breaching patient confidentiality and acting outside of their professional code of conduct and the Health Board’s own policies on data protection and information governance. The Health Board says it has also referred the situation to the Information Commissioner for independent investigation.

All patients affected, which include staff members, have been written to and offered the opportunity to discuss the situation with the Health Board through a free helpline number, which can be contacted on 0800 804 8787. Please note it is open between the hours of 5pm and 9pm Monday-Friday and 9am-4pm Saturday and Sunday until Jul 21.

Chief Executive Steve Moore said: “This is a matter that we take extremely seriously and I have written to every patient directly affected to apologise for the actions taken by this individual which go against their own professional code of conduct and health board policies and procedures.

“We are able to reassure people that our review has shown no changes or amendments were made to records. It also produced no evidence that the information has been used by the individual for any purpose other than to view.”

He added: “We understand and acknowledge how distressing this is for those individuals affected, especially for any who may be vulnerable and we have set up a free helpline should they wish to discuss this further with us.”

Members of the Health Board’s management identified the breach late last year and a review took place to establish the extent of the issue. The Health Board has identified areas for improvement and taken action to improve checking access to electronic hospital records and managing performance and supervision to avoid something similar from happening again.

The Health Board has also proactively referred this to the Information Commissioner’s Office to investigate. The Information Commissioner is responsible for upholding rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and privacy for individuals. It is an independent regulatory office dealing with the Data Protection Act and has its own enforcement rights for any breaches under the Act.

Should the Information Commissioner’s Office determine the access constitutes a breach, they have the power to commence criminal proceedings against the individual. Equally, the Information Commissioner could fine against the Health Board should they consider it failed to take appropriate organisational or technical measures to protect individuals’ personal data.

Mr Moore added: “May I again sincerely apologise that a former member of staff, whilst in a position of trust, has acted in this way. This should not have happened and I know that our own staff, like our Board, will be shocked at this situation, especially our wonderful nurses who hold patient confidentiality at the core of their values. I hope our patients, staff and public will be assured of our ongoing commitment to avoid something like this from happening again.”

If you have not been contacted directly by the health board about this situation then you are unaffected and do not need to take further action. Anyone who has been contacted and who is distressed or has concerns, can contact the free helpline on 0800 804 8787. Please note it is open between the hours of 5pm and 9pm Monday-Friday and 9am-4pm Saturday and Sunday until Jul 21.

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Llandysul farmers plead guilty

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LAST week, Mr David Davies and Mr Meirion Davies, both of Penffynnon Farm, Bangor Teifi, Llandysul, appeared before the Magistrates Court at Aberystwyth, charged with Animal Health related offences.

Both men pleaded guilty to all charges.

The charges consisted of 13 charges relating to causing unnecessary suffering to cattle, failing to meet animal needs, and charges of failure to dispose of animal by-products; namely the carcasses found on the farm.

The case follows an investigation by Ceredigion County Council Animal Health Officers. When officers visited the farm, they discovered a large number of cattle carcasses in varying states of decay in several locations.

The remaining cattle were also found to be kept in poor conditions and have since been subject to regular surveillance.

The case has been adjourned to mid-February to enable pre-sentence reports to be prepared.

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New Quay: RNLI receives donation from local couple

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LINDA and Tony Miles from Llandysul recently donated a sum of money to New Quay Lifeboat Station on behalf of their grandson.

Being former members of Teifi Boating Club in Gwbert, their grandson Robert had asked for his Christmas present money to go to the RNLI at New Quay.

On receiving the donation Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager said “We would like to thank Robert for his kind thoughts and generosity. Donating money to New Quay Lifeboat Station ensures we can carry on with our lifesaving work in Cardigan Bay.”

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Ten years for baby abusing paedophile who handed himself in to police

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A LLANILAR man who confessed to child sex offences no-one was aware of was jailed for 10 years on Friday (Jan 18).

Jared Perry, aged 32, walked into Aberystwyth police station and told officers he had sexually assaulted seven children, three of them when they were babies.

Perry, of Talardeg, was told by Judge Paul Thomas that he was a dangerous offender as defined by law and would be on licence and liable to be recalled to prison until 2035.

John Hipkin, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court that he made members of his family aware that he had committed child sex offences.

Perry promised “to change” but went on to sexually assault more children.

Judge Paul Thomas said those who were aware of Perry’s offending would have to live with their decision not to inform the police.

Eventually Perry’s conscience got the better of him and he made full admissions to the police.

Mr Hipkin said the prosecution had to accept that there was no evidence of his offending apart from his confession.

He said one of Perry’s victims was a two month old baby.

Mr Hipkin said some of the assaults happened when Perry was about 16. There was then a gap before a second spate of offences when he was aged between 26 and 29.

Perry’s barrister, Dean Pulling, said he had been brought up in a deeply religious environment and had been driven by his conscience to confess.

Perry admitted 10 offences of indecent assault and sexual assault on children aged under 13.

Judge Thomas said there were aspects of the case that were unique to the point of being bizarre.

“The evidence comes solely from your own admissions.

“One truly shocking aspect is that after those first offences you told members of your family.

“For reasons known best only to them, and which they will have to live with, they did not inform the police.

“No doubt they gave you a chance because you promised to change. But you did not. You were unable to prevent yourself from re-offending.”

Judge Thomas said he was in no doubt whatsoever that Perry posed an extremely high risk of sexually harming children in the future.

Perry was made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and told to register with the police as a sex offender, both orders to run for the rest of his life.

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