Ban outsourcing of personal data by state agencies

Breach of trust is a sign of wider malaise of privatisation

The Workers Party have called for the outsourcing of confidential  personal records by all public authorities to be banned immediately regardless of whether they are hospital records or other confidential records held by government departments and agencies.

Cork Workers Party Councillor Ted Tynan said that the latest revelation that Cork’s Mercy University Hospital had also outsourced the processing of confidential patient records to the same company that is at the centre of an investigation at Tallaght Hospital in Dublin was an outrage and a complete breach of patient confidentiality and public trust.

Cllr. Tynan said that the fact that Dublin hospital patient’s personal records had been sent to the Philippines for transcription and the possibility that this may also have happened in Cork was an appalling abuse of patient’s rights and said a thorough investigation was required, not just in the two hospitals concerned, but throughout the HSE and the wider public service.

“This is not just a breach of trust”, said Councillor Tynan, “it is indicative of a wider culture of outsourcing and privatisation of functions previously carried out within the HSE and other government bodies which is being done without regard or care for the possible consequences.   State agencies and other public authorities are bound by the terms of the Data Protection Act and while it also applies to outside processing of such data this is not enough to guarantee the confidentiality of the data especially if it leaves the country.   There needs to be a ban on outsourcing such data and it needs to be processed in-house to ensure accountability and patient privacy”.

Issued 4th August 2011

Peace, Work, Democracy & Class Politics