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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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New Quay RNLI lifeboat crew trains with lifeguards

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NEW QUAY lifeboat station hosted a special training evening with the lifeboat crew and Ceredigion’s RNLI lifeguards last week.

Pete Yates, one of New Quay RNLI’s inshore lifeboat helms, worked closely with Ceredigion lifeguard supervisor, Tirion Dowsett, to plan scenarios for the teams to practice working together in casualty care situations.

A large scale scenario included four casualties to be dealt with by the inshore lifeboat crew and two lifeguard teams on a nearby beach, whilst a third lifeguard team and lifeboat crew members dealt with a separate scenario at the lifeboat station.

Pete said: “It was a great evening of training. We had 9 lifeguards and 13 lifeboat crew in attendance.

“The main scenario included casualties suffering from hypothermia and propeller injuries. A second scenario involved a mechanic suffering head injuries in the forepeak of the all-weather lifeboat and requiring extraction on a stretcher.

“On completion of these scenarios we all gathered back at the station where one of our senior crew members sprung a great act at being a diabetic having a hypo, and being suitably angry and aggressive.”

Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager, added: “It was great for our lifeboat crew members to work with the lifeguards as it builds a deeper understanding of each other’s roles and encourages teamwork between us. This is of great benefit when dealing with real life casualty care situations.”

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Coastguard rescues dog stuck on cliffs

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LAST TUESDAY (Aug 27), New Quay RNLI’s inshore D-class lifeboat, Audrey LJ, was tasked by Milford Haven Coastguard to assist the Coastguard with a dog stuck on the cliffs near New Quay.

The volunteer crew launched the inshore lifeboat at 1.50pm with four crew members on board and made their way south down the coast.

Brett Stones, New Quay RNLI’s helm said: “We located the dog on the cliffs by Castell Bach, near Cwmtydu. We stood by while the Coastguard team caught the animal. The dog was unharmed and safe with the Coastguard so we were stood down.

“However, while returning to station we were then tasked to a small vessel with engine failure. We towed the stricken boat with three people on board back to New Quay. We rehoused the inshore lifeboat and it was ready for service by 2.40pm.”

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New maintenance Lorries cut carbon emissions

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The Ground Maintenance Team has purchased three new lorries to support ground maintenance services in Ceredigion.

The new lorries will move Ceredigion County Council’s Ground Maintenance Service’s equipment to and from the grounds that they look after. The lorries will also take cut grass away for composting. This provides the most efficient way of maintaining the areas that the team is responsible for.

Councillor Dafydd Edwards is the Cabinet member responsible for Highways and Environmental Services together with Housing. He said: “The new vehicles replace ones which had provided excellent service for almost 20 years. They are fitted with Euro 6 engines which are considerably more efficient and better for the environment.”

The Grounds Maintenance Team is also incrementally introducing electric-powered mowers, blowers, hedge cutters and strimmers into its fleet. This equipment is better for the environment, is easier to use and causes less noise and vibration.

The new lorries support Ceredigion County Council’s commitment to be a net-zero carbon council by 2030.

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