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Former Withybush Hospital employee inappropriately accessed records

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HYWEL DDA UNIVERSITY HEALTH BOARD has written to 41 people to provide them with information and support after its own investigation identified a former member of staff had inappropriately accessed electronic patient hospital records.
The individual, an administrator at Withybush Hospital, is no longer employed by Hywel Dda University Health Board after breaching patient confidentiality and acting outside of NHS and the Health Board’s own policies on data protection and information governance.
The Health Board has also referred the situation to the Information Commissioner for independent investigation.
All patients affected have been written to and offered the opportunity to discuss the situation with the Health Board through a helpline number, which can be contacted on 01437 773969/01437 773970.
Individuals can also contact the Information Governance Team by Email: Information.Governance.HDD@wales.nhs.uk
Chief Executive Steve Moore said: “This is a matter that we take extremely seriously and we have written to every patient directly affected to apologise for the actions taken by this individual which go against health board policies and procedures.
“We are able to reassure people that our review has shown no changes or amendments were made to records. It also produced no evidence that the information has been used by the individual for any purpose other than to view.”
He added: “We faced a similar but much larger scale breach in 2016 but it makes this none the less serious for those patients affected. We understand and acknowledge how distressing this is for those affected, especially for any who may be vulnerable, and we have set up a helpline should they wish to discuss this further with us.”
The concern was originally picked up by a manager which resulted in a full investigation being undertaken by the Health Board. This involved collecting evidence from witnesses and reviewing the extent of the breach as the individual did have appropriate reason to access patient records as part of their job. Since then, the board has been working to ensure it had the correct information and ability to contact all individuals affected appropriately.
The Health Board has introduced an electronic system which provides a better and efficient way of checking access to electronic hospital records. Called, the National Intelligent Integrated Auditing Solution (NIIAS), it is licensed for use by all NHS Wales health boards and trusts and helps monitor electronic information systems and flag up potential instances of unauthorised access to patient information, for further investigation.  The Board has implemented an Information Governance Team and carried out extensive training and communications with staff to ensure they understand their responsibilities in maintaining strict patient confidentiality.
Mr Moore said: “We will continue to prioritise this work until we have full assurance that all staff are complying with our policies and procedures around patient confidentiality. I say with confidence that most of our staff are extremely disappointed and devastated by breaches of this nature by individuals. At the core of our values as NHS staff members and employees of Hywel Dda University Health Board is the obligation to protect our patients, treating their information with respect and protecting their right to confidentiality.”
The Health Board has also proactively referred the breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office. The Commissioner is responsible for upholding rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and privacy for individuals. It is an independent regulatory office dealing with the Data Protection Act and has its own enforcement rights for any breaches under the Act.
Should the Information Commissioner’s Office determine the access constitutes a breach, they have the power to commence criminal proceedings against the individual. Equally, the Information Commissioner could take action against the Health Board should they consider it failed to take appropriate organisational or technical measures to protect individuals’ personal data.
If you have not been contacted directly by the health board about this situation then you are unaffected and do not need to take further action. Anyone who has been contacted and who is distressed or has concerns, can contact the helpline  on 01437 773969/01437 773970.
Also you can email: Information.Governance.HDD@wales.nhs.uk if you would like to arrange a call-back from the team on a day and time that is convenient for you.

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Marloes pensioner in child abuse images case

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A PENSIONER has been bailed to attend Swansea Crown Court by magistrates sitting in Haverfordwest Law Courts this week.

Derek Lister, 72, of Marloes is accused of making indecent photographs of children.

He appeared before the bench, on Tuesday (Apr 13).

Lister was represented by Redkite Solicitors.

The court heard that between June 2009 and November 2019 in Marloes, Pembrokeshire, Lister allegedly created 3 indecent category A images of a child, 14 indecent category B images of a child and 152 indecent category C images of a child.

He will now appear at Swansea Crown Court on May 11 at 10am for the next hearing after the local court declined jurisdiction.

Lister has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

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Primary school teacher described as ‘touchy-feely’ on day two of trial

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A HAVERFORDWEST primary school teacher, accused of sexually assaulting his pupils was “very touchy-feely”, Swansea Crown Court heard on the second day of his trial.

James Oulton, 34, of Haverfordwest would put his hands around students’ waists and touch their bottoms, an ex-female pupil said in a video interview played to Swansea Crown Court.

The defendant denies 30 charges of sexual assault at a primary school in Haverfordwest. The alleged offences took place between 2012 and 2018.

On the opening day of the trial, court heard that Oulton said the case was a “witch-hunt” and that he always behaved appropriately with children.

On Tuesday, the jury watched the video interview with one of Oulton’s former pupils, who said he was a “friendly person, very chatty and sociable and quite outgoing and wanted to know everything that was going on.”

She added: “Mr Oulton often wanted to know a lot of details on what we had done over the weekend, where we had been, and also who they had been with.”

“At the time I just thought he was trying to be really friendly but now when I look back at it now, it does seem odd.”

The witness also described the defendant as a “very touchy-feely teacher”.

She added: “If he was marking your work or if you approached him to ask him a question, he would put his hands around your waist or around your bum”.

“If he was standing by his desk, he would, like, motion to his knee, so he wouldn’t ask you directly to sit on his lap but he would tap his knee.”

Swansea Crown Court heard that the witness eventually came forward and told her parents parents after she heard them speaking about Mr Oulton being suspended from his job.

“Did you feel under pressure to say something had happened to you?” asked Mr Clee.

The witness answered “No”

Oulton, of Richmond Crescent, Haverfordwest, previously told the court he had behaved appropriately.

He also believed letters were sent by Pembrokeshire County Council to parents which encouraged “deliberately false evidence” and collusion between pupils.

The trial continues.

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‘We don’t want it’: councillors object to HGV tanker park plans

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PEMBROKE DOCK town councillors have objected strongly to plans to build a HGV tanker park in the town.

The tanker park would be located on the south-western side of Criterion Way, behind the ASDA petrol station.

However, at a meeting of the town council’s Planning Committee on Tuesday, April 13, councillors were in agreement that it would create more problems for the town.

Councillor Jonathan George said: “I’ve noted the public input on this and they don’t seem very happy about where it’s going to be put.

“It is close to a small park area and I don’t think it’s suitable to put this here. I won’t be supporting this.”

Cllr George Manning added: “There are many aspects of this which are totally inappropriate for Pembroke Dock. There are many other sites available but they haven’t looked at any of them.

“This does not do anything for the Future Generations act and it will bring more disruption to the town.

“This does not bring about any improvements to the existing transport infrastructure. There are lots of things about this, we don’t want it. I don’t think they have looked into it in enough detail.”

Cllr Gordon Goff said that the impact it would have on the public and wildlife would be ‘astronomical’.

He went on to say he was not happy with one of the statements in the application and said they ‘don’t want to be blackmailed’.

One of the documents submitted with the application states that if the development was not approved it would mean that the applicants, Certas, ‘will either have to find a different site’ or ‘will have to cease operating in the area’.

Cllr Terry Judkins said that the Port Authority wanted to ‘use Pembroke Dock as a dumping ground’ and added that he could not support it.

Cllr Maureen Colgan added that she was ‘totally against’ the application and said that the area should be kept for leisure and be developed as an area where people can sit and enjoy themselves.

The application is due to be decided by Pembrokeshire County Council at a later date.

Cllr Paul Dowson has already called in the application for it to be debated by the County Council’s Planning Committee.

In his request he states that it is too near habitation, it is within the Pembroke Dock conservation area and that children have been using the area near the bandstand as play area for over 20 years.

The area had also previously been the subject of an application for a marina and other leisure facilities but that investment was written off in 2017.

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