GDPR in Health and Social Care
The importance of safely managing data in the healthcare sector has never been greater. The range and complexity of the data that individual professionals, practices and NHS bodies hold is constantly increasing as are the legal requirements governing it.
In the health and social care sector much of the data held will be sensitive personal data requiring the highest levels of protection and compliance. Recent changes in working practices mean more colleagues are accessing systems and data remotely. The risks for practitioners have increased in line with those changes.
The unlawful disclosure of data, either by mistake or by malicious actors, can have serious ramifications for the data subjects and for the organisations or individuals who control the data.
Why is GDPR important in health and social care? The potential consequences of a breach of the rules and regulations governing data protection can include a complaint to the Information Commissioners Office, enforcement action and potentially a significant fine. We believe that early action can mitigate consequences, minimise harm to the data subject, minimise consequences for the professional involved and also avoid recurrence in future. Practitioners in the healthcare sector should take expert advice on the safe management of data, on how to prevent a data breach as well as what to do in the event one occurs. Our team includes nationally recognised experts on the GDPR and data management with a track record of providing pragmatic preventative advice as well as effective and swift handling of data breaches occurring in the healthcare context. We can advise on responses, remedial action, steps in mitigation and reporting requirements as well as action necessary in the wider context of healthcare professional regulation.
Practitioners also encounter situations where an individual or organisation has requested third-party data they control. This may occur when the police who are investigating a complaint, where a request is made by a patient or family member, or through a court order in ongoing legal proceedings. We can guide you in handling such requests ensuring they are dealt with in line with the law and in a way that best protects you against the risk of complaints or allegations of non-compliance with your legal obligations.
If you have any concerns about issues around data within the health and social care sector, including advice or practical assistance managing a data breach, then contact our experts healthcare solicitors.