Data protection watchdog the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has rapped the knuckles of yet another NHS body over poor data handling practices.
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), which manages the Organ Donation Register, discovered that the donation preferences of over 400,000 people had been incorrectly recorded after a software error.
The irregularities between the information noted on Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency application forms and that recorded on the organ register were first discovered by NHSBT in March 2010, but dated back to 1999.
"The decision to donate an organ is significant, and it is important that the preferences of the donors are recorded accurately. In this case errors were made in the recording of the donors' wishes," said ICO head of enforcement Mick Gorrill.
"I welcome the NHSBT commitment to correcting the inaccurate data and their willingness to make sure this type of incident does not happen again by introducing a variety of new security measures."
NHSBT has now signed an undertaking to check any information more accurately in the future, and to write to all new registered entrants to give them an opportunity to report any errors. It has also agreed to have an external audit of its proposed control systems, said the ICO.
The data protection error is yet another in a long line of similar NHS mishaps which has forced the ICO to take action.
Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust, Stoke-on-Trent Trust and Basingstoke and North Hampshire NHS Foundation Trust have all been found wanting in the past year.
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