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Wednesday 06 December 2023

Statement from University Hospital Southampton, regarding use of maternity services data breach

A spokesperson for University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS) said: “We would like to apologise sincerely following a significant data breach within maternity services at the Trust.

“The data breach occurred following a Freedom of Information request (FOI) that was published by the website What Do They Know (WDTK) in November 2020. It concerns patients who had appointments within maternity services at UHS between 2016 and 2019.

“The information amounted to 42,000 lines of data and included a pivot table which, if manipulated, could reveal the home post code, date of birth and NHS number for attendees at certain appointments between 2016 and 2019. For a small number of patients (112), a surname was included in the data provided, which was accessible through manipulation of the pivot table. Other than a record of attendance at a maternity service appointment, no clinical records or medical information could be accessed.

“The data was removed from the WDTK website on October 31, 2023. We were notified of the breach on November 1, 2023 and informed the Information Commissioner’s Office immediately.

“As soon as we were informed, we launched a thorough investigation and our searches have found no evidence of the document existing elsewhere online.

“We would like to reassure our patients that further measures have now been put in place to protect all data, in line with national data protection guidance.

“If you were a patient during that time and have concerns about your data, please contact us by emailing the data enquiry team or if you are unable to email please call the patient advice and liaison service (PALS) on 023 8120 6325."