Private Healthcare Data Breach Compensation Claims
Have you suffered a private healthcare data breach? Were your patent details or test results sent to the wrong person?
Or was digital data like cosmetic surgery images leaked in some way causing you emotional and financial harm?
In this guide, we explain how the Data Protection Act 2018 and UK General Data Protection Regulations (UK GDPR) require all agencies, including private healthcare providers to handle personal data with much more care. Whether the breach was accidental or deliberate, they could be liable to compensate you. Find out more right now by:
- Speaking to our advisors on 020 3870 4868
- Requesting a callback online when you contact us
- Access immediate discussion through our ‘live support’ option below
Select A Section
- What Is A Private Healthcare Data Breach?
- Types Of Healthcare Data
- Preventing Medical Data Breaches
- How To Claim For A Private Healthcare Data Breach
- Private Healthcare Data Breach Compensation Calculator
- Begin Your Claim Against A Private Healthcare Provider
What are a data subject’s rights following a data protection breach? The 7 Core Principles contained in data protection law must be adhered to by those who request and use your personal data (controllers and processors) as a way of ensuring personal information is processed and protected accordingly. Those principles require that data be:
- Fairly and lawfully collected
- Limited in purpose
- Limited in quantity
- Kept accurate
- Stored only for as long as needed
- With integrity and confidentiality
- And accountability by all involved.
Therefore, a personal data breach could happen when personal information is involved in a security incident in the following ways:
- Accessed by an unauthorised third party
- Sent to an incorrect recipient
- Lost or stolen (such as computing devices that contain personal data)
- Altered through a breach in security
- Or destroyed in an unauthorised way
The Data Protection Act and UK GDPR are enforced by an independent organisation called the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). They have the power to investigate and penalise any agency that fails to apply these data protection safeguards.
Healthcare Data Security Statistics
Statistics from the ICO on reported data security incidents by the health care sector for the period of the third fiscal quarter2021/22:
Healthcare data can include a wide swathe of personal information that can include:
- Basic name address and contact details
- Credit card and debit card details
- Previous health information
- Cosmetic surgery procedure details
- Laboratory (culture) results
- Genetic tests
- Prognosis and treatment details
- X-rays or scan results
- Blood test results
The DPA and UK GDPR identifies health data as a special category. This is personal data that is recognised to present a greater risk of harm to the data subject if it were leaked. Health information is included in that category. As such, a data security incident could be the result of any of the following example scenarios:
- A member of clinic staff gives a verbal disclosure about your personal information
- Test results were sent to the wrong person
- Correspondence causing data breach by email occurred when sent to an incorrect recipient
- Failure to redact medical details shared with a third party
- Images showing before or after cosmetic procedures leaked
- Records were stolen causing a paperwork data breach
- An exterior cyberattack infiltrated client records
There are ways that both a private healthcare clinic and the data subject can restrict the margin for human error that most commonly causes data breaches:
- The clinic can ensure staff are well trained and understand their UK GDPR data protection responsibilities
- They can implement access measures such as passwords and privilege control
- Regularly check patient/client details for accuracy
- Store data or images in an appropriate, secure way
- Ensure that IT and cyber defences are up to date and sufficient. An external attack may still occur, but if the clinic can prove they did all they could to prevent it, they are not liable.
The patient can also take steps to prevent a data breach incident as much as possible. They can monitor the data that is held about them and are supported by UK GDPR to be empowered and have control over their personal data.
All data controllers and processors have an obligation to report a serious data breach to the ICO within 72 hours and inform the impacted data subjects as soon as possible. A private healthcare data breach may be something you only consider after discovering the problem sometime later. There is a six-year time limit for making a data breach claim, but it’s still important to start compiling evidence as soon as possible. With this in mind, the following steps can help:
- Complain to the private clinic (they may admit liability)
- Gather proof of leaked cosmetic procedure images online if applicable
- Wait no longer than 3 months from the date of last meaningful contact on the matter with the healthcare provider in question before elevating the complaint to the ICO if you wish to do so.
- You could raise a complaint about the clinic with the ICO. They may not investigate but it adds weight to your claim and shows that you are serious about your grievance
- Seek medical opinion if the data breach caused emotional or psychiatric harm.
- Connect with professional help for your claim. At UK Law we can help with this, so please get in touch if you wish.
The aftermath of a personal data breach can have different repercussion depending on what information has been breached. So successful claims aim to address any damage that may have been caused.
The first is called material damages and can include reimbursing you for all the financial costs the data breach caused. This can include:
- Lost income and were unable to work
- Needed to change all personal devices, laptops, or smartphones
- Needed to pay for counselling costs to deal with the stress due to a data breach
In addition to these, non-material damages can be acknowledged. A psychiatric and mental health compensation calculator can help provide figures for the emotional distress caused by a data breach. After a case called Vidal-Hall v Google, a precedent was set that these damages could be claimed quite independently from financial suffering, which needed to be a part of the claim before.
As such, you can now claim for either or both. The Judicial College Guidelines (updated 2022 version) provide compensation brackets for psychiatric harm, as shown:
|Type of Psychiatric Harm||Severity Level and JC Guideline Award Bracket||Supporting Notes|
|PTSD||(a) Severe Degree - £59,860 to £100,670||Permanent adverse affects that prevent normal coping in any area of life|
|PTSD||(b) Moderately Severe Degree - £23,150 to £59,860||Still issues for the foreseeable future but a more positive prognosis than the bracket above with help|
|PTSD||(c) Moderate Degree - £8,180 to £23,150||A recovery on the whole with no major debilitating issues|
|PTSD||(d) Less Severe Degree - £3,950 to £8,180||An effective full recovery within a 12 - 24 month time frame|
|General Psychiatric Damage||(a) Severe Degree - £54,830 to £115,730||A poor prognosis leading to an ongoing or long standing disability|
|General Psychiatric Damage||(b) Moderately Severe Degree - £19,070 to £54,830||Significant issues that may obstruct normal work or personal relationships|
|General Psychiatric Damage||(c) Moderate Degree - £5,860 to £19,070||A bracket that reflects an improvement by the time the case is heard|
|General Psychiatric Damage||(d) Less Severe Degree - £1,540 to £5,860||A more or less full recovery leaving only a specific phobia or anxiety disorder|
Evidence is crucial for both types of damage and the figures given above are not guaranteed. Speak to our team for help on what other costs you could include or use our compensation calculator.
A private healthcare data breach is not something that you have to face alone. To be eligible to make a personal data breach claim you must be able to establish that the data controller, in this aspect, the medical clinic was liable for the breach. Did they not adhere to data protection law which led to a breach of your personal information? This is where a data protection solicitor can be beneficial.
At UK Law we could connect you with a member of our panel of data breach solicitors who could take up your claim on a No Win No Fee basis. So what advantages are there to No Win No Fee agreements in data breach claims?
- No fees are needed upfront
- Or any fees as the case develops
- Also, nothing is owed to the solicitors if the case fails
- A successful conclusion requires a maximum deduction from the settlement of 25%. This is to cover the solicitor’s success fee.
To start a claim for compensation against a private healthcare clinic for a data breach today you can:
- Speak to our advisors on 020 3870 4868
- Request a callback online when you contact us
- Or access help on our ‘live support’ option below
Private Healthcare Data Breach Related Guides
In conclusion, please refer to the links below for other related content on data breach security incidents and how to claim compensation for them such as:
- More details about compensation for lost medical records
- Data breach compensation examples
- Compensation after failure to use the Bcc (Blind carbon copy) option
- Advice and tips on staying safe online
- Complaining about a private healthcare clinic
- Lastly, details on the Private and Voluntary Health Care (England) Regulations 2001
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