Investigation launched as 2000 health workers caught up in data breach – Belfast Telegraph


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More than 2,000 health workers are at the centre of a data breach over the disclosure of their personal details, Sunday Life can reveal.

major investigation is now underway to get to the bottom of how this happened. Workers across all trusts have been impacted and have been informed of the development by letter.

One source told Sunday Life: “It is worrying and potentially serious but we will have to wait until the outcome of the investigation. People just can’t believe it has happened.”

The level of disclosure varies from general information about an employee to more personal details like national insurance numbers.

This breach is linked to the Business Services Organisation (BSO) in charge of pay, travel and expenses of all Health Service workers here.

Sunday Life has obtained a copy of a letter sent out to one employee affected.

It says: “As part of a wider investigation which is currently ongoing, we have become aware that data has been forward to a staff member’s personal email account.

“There has been independent verification that this data has been deleted.

“At this point in the investigation, the staff member has indicated that it was not used for any other purpose and was shared (to the personal email account) for wider workload management purposes only.”

The data breach has also been reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office, BSO Human Resources and Counter Fraud.

The letter from a top official at BSO concludes: “I fully appreciate that you may find this distressing and I would like to apologise for the stress and inconvenience this may cause.”

Despite what appears to be a very detailed explanation of what went wrong, Sunday Life understands it has failed to ease the fears of some workers.

“This is bound to have a big effect on confidence, how something like this could happen in the first place and people aren’t happy about it,’’ our source told us.

The Department of Health has confirmed an investigation has been launched into the data breach which has widened to include more workers.

“As part of an investigation into a data breach within BSO Shared Services, a wider investigation was initiated. It was discovered that there were further individuals impacted,’’ said a spokesperson.

“All those impacted are in the process of being communicated with, and support measures are being implemented.

“The Information commissioner has been formally notified as have trade unions, at this time investigations are still ongoing, focusing on individuals impacted and are unable to comment further.”

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