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Tragedy nurse's boyf fined over medical records abuse

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A man who worked for a firm of ambulance-chasers must pay more than £2000 in fines and costs after being convicted of illegally obtaining NHS patients' personal information and using it for commercial gain.

Martin Campbell, who was working for the Bury-based personal injuries firm Direct Assist at the time, lifted data belonging to "around 29" people who had attended walk-in treatment centres in Bury to have injuries seen to.

Campbell obtained the data with the assistance of his then girlfriend Dawn Makin, a nurse who had access to the records.

Campbell pleaded guilty yesterday at Bury Magistrates Court to offences of illegally obtaining information under Section 55 of the Data Protection Act. He was ordered to pay a £1,050 fine, £1,160 towards prosecution costs, and a £15 victims’ surcharge.

The scheme was uncovered after Bury Primary Care Trust received complaints from patients who had been the subject of unsolicited contacts asking them about their injuries and encouraging them to make claims. Looking into the matter the Trust found that Makin had accessed the relevant records without any legitimate reason to do so, and the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) was called in.

“The ICO will always pursue prosecutions where individuals breach both their duty of confidentiality and the Data Protection Act," said Information Commissioner Christopher Graham.

However, the ICO says that its case against Makin "is not being pursued due to a prosecution no longer being in the public interest".

Makin lost her job with the Bury Primary Care Trust after the investigation last August, according to reports. She was hospitalised in February following an apparent suicide attempt and the violent death of her four-year-old daughter. Police are not seeking anyone else in their inquiry into the little girl's death.

"Where greed and breach of trust meet then the results, as in this case, can be tragic," commented Commissioner Graham. ®

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