London clinic ‘sorry’ for HIV patient leak

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DATA BREACH: The Dean Street clinic, based in Soho, central London, bills itself as Europe’s busiest sexual health, contraception and HIV care clinic.

NEARLY 800 patients at one of London’s leading sexual health clinics had their personal details exposed after the hospital sent a newsletter out to its patients.

The newsletter, sent out by the 56 Dean Street clinic, was received by 780 patients who had signed up to its Option E service, which allows people to book appointments and receive HIV test results by email.

Instead of hiding the personal details of those on its recipient list, it included their full names and email addresses.

The clinic, which is run by the Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust, apologised for the data breach, thought to be the biggest ever of its kind, shortly after sending the email.

A recall email and three apology emails followed the leak. The maximum fine for breaches of data protection is £500,000.

One apology from Dr Alan McOwan read: “We recalled/deleted the email as soon as we realised what happened. If it is still in your inbox please delete immediately.”

“We are urgently investigating how this has happened and I promise you that we will take steps to ensure it never happens again.”

The Information Commissioner’s Office said it was aware of the incident and were investigating.

“Human error happens sadly,” tweeted Dr Christian Jessen, best known as the doctor on Channel 4 reality TV medical show, Embarrassing Bodies. He urged people to not let the incident damage the reputation of the clinic.

The Dean Street clinic, based in Soho, central London, bills itself as Europe’s busiest sexual health, contraception and HIV care clinic. In 2011, the clinic set the world record for the most HIV tests performed in one location, at G-A-Y bar in Soho on World Aids Day.

Last year, it claimed to be the first clinic in the world to have an on-site Infinity machine, allowing it to give HIV test results within six hours.

The clinic has set up a help line for patients affected by the breach on 020 3315 9555 or 020 3315 9594.

Source: voice-online.co.uk

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