Northern Irish nursing home fined over burgled personal details
A nursing home in County Antrim has been fined £15,000 for breaking the law by not looking after the sensitive personal details in its care.
An investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found widespread systemic failings in data protection at Whitehead Nursing Home at the time of a data breach.
The breach came when a member of staff took an unencrypted work laptop home, which was stolen during a burglary overnight. The laptop contained sensitive personal details relating to 46 staff including reasons for sickness absence and information about disciplinary matters. It also held some details about 29 residents including their date of birth, mental and physical health and ‘do not resuscitate’ status.
Ken Macdonald, Head of ICO Regions, said the nursing home had put its employees and residents at risk by failing to follow basic procedures to properly manage and look after the personal information in its care.
“Our investigation revealed major flaws in the nursing home’s approach to data protection,” said Mr Macdonald.
“Employees would have expected any details about disciplinary matters or their state of health to have been kept safe. Likewise, residents would not have expected their confidential information to have been stored on an unprotected laptop and taken to an employee’s home. Whitehead Nursing Home had totally inadequate provisions for IT security and procedure and poor data protection training.”
Mr Macdonald the amount of the fine reflected the size of the nursing home business, and that a bigger organisation experiencing a similarly serious breach should expect to receive a much larger fine.