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Ambulance staff personal data breach in Moray


By Alistair Whitfield

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An investigation has been launched after personal files about ambulance staff in Moray went AWOL.

The files were allegedly removed from a locked drawer inside a local Scottish Ambulance Service manager's office, which was also locked.

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After purportedly being read by other members of staff, they were discarded in a cardboard box and left in a store room for over a year.

Last month, the files were then transferred to the ambulance station in Forres.

Moray's MP Douglas Ross contacted the Scottish Ambulance Service to raise concerns about a data breach after being contacted by a whistle-blower.

In a written response the service confirmed it had become aware of the issue on September 25.

Describing the personal information contained in the files as "limited", it added there was no evidence of criminality or that the files had been accessed by anyone outside the service.

The Scottish Ambulance Service added: "In line with legislative requirements we have notified the Information Commissioner’s Office.

"Scottish Government leads have also been informed."

The service said it had informed the employees whose information was involved and apologised to them

The service continued: "Our data protection officer spent two days in the station concerned, speaking to staff, talking to them about the process and progress of the investigation, providing reassurance and offering them support.

"Local management teams are continuing this support and our data protection team are keeping in close contact with all staff to keep them informed as the investigation progresses.

"We will be reviewing all learnings from this full investigation and will implement any actions identified."

Mr Ross stated his confidence that the service was taking the issue seriously.

He added: "This appears be a serious breach of GDPR regulations on the safe storage of sensitive and confidential material.

"It is very concerning to me that this has happened within what should be secure areas of Scottish Ambulance Service premises in Moray.

"The fact that these documents seem to have been passed around some of the staff is worrying.

"I have made clear that instances like this can be very damaging for staff morale."


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