A report has revealed that the National Health Service in Ireland (NHS) has a record of thousands of medical records being misused in order to promote and sell products.
A new report from independent watchdog, the Office of the Independent Director of Public Prosecutions (OIDP), which examined the misuse of medical data by the NHS in Ireland, has found that there is a problem with over-collection of data by health systems and that there was a deliberate attempt to conceal the true nature of the problem.
A number of the records, which were accessed in a database used to identify potential patients, were found to have been misused to promote or sell products, according to the OIDP report.
The report said that there had been a systematic attempt to hide the true scale of the misuse, with some records being used for marketing and others for diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation, according the Irish Times.
The misuse of data was so widespread that, in some cases, the records were not even checked to see whether they had been used for diagnosis or treatment purposes.
The OIDPs report also revealed that some of the medical records had been misidentified as potentially for a legitimate health purpose.
A few of the misidentified records had even been re-labelled as being for a diagnosis or for a medical procedure, while in other cases, it was determined that the records had actually been mislabeled to promote products.
“There is no reason to believe that all the records have been identified and processed properly.
A small number of records were misidentified in this way,” OID spokesperson, Anne McConkey said.”
The OIDs Office of Public Information and Enforcement is working closely with Health and Social Care Ireland and the Health Service Executive to establish what steps need to be taken to prevent further misuse of health data.”
Ms McConkeys added that the OIDs OID team had also been made aware of an ongoing investigation by the Health and Safety Executive into the misuse and mislabeling of medical information by Health Care Workers.
The Government has so far not commented on the report.
It comes after a report published last month revealed that around 20,000 Irish people had been infected with a virus that has been linked to the coronavirus outbreak.