A former GP practice manager has been fined for sending personal data to her own email account without authorisation, following an investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Shamim Sadiq worked at Hollybrook Medical Centre in Littleover, Derby, but was suspended on 3 November 2017 for unrelated matters and dismissed later that month.

Derby Magistrates’ Court was told that at the time of the incident, Sadiq was also employed by the Care Quality Commission as a specialist adviser for practice management and so she still had access to her NHS email account following her suspension from the surgery.

The day after her suspension, Sadiq had forwarded an email from her work email account to her personal email account without a business reason to do so. It contained 13 application forms which had been submitted several months earlier for a vacancy at the surgery and included names, addresses, personal email addresses, national insurance numbers of candidates as well as further personal data of their referees.

The ICO investigation found that on 5 November 2017, Sadiq had received an email from Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust confirming that she had applied for a post there.

Steve Eckersley, who heads up investigations at the ICO, said:

”People have a right to expect that their personal data will be handled securely. NHS staff have access to great deal of personal sensitive data and are therefore in a position of trust. Ms Sadiq betrayed this trust.

“She was an experienced practice manager and had completed relevant training in line with NHS guidelines so would have been aware of appropriate practices in terms of handling personal data.”

The court was told the incident was discovered by a member of practice staff who had been given access to Ms Sadiq’s NHS email account for business continuity following her dismissal. The surgery reported Ms Sadiq to the ICO in December 2017.

Sadiq, of Carlton Road, Derby, admitted unlawfully accessing personal data and was fined £120, plus £364 costs and a victim surcharge of £30. Due to the timing of the incident, the defendant was prosecuted under section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998 and not the new Data Protection Act 2018.

Notes to Editors

  1. The ICO can take action to change the behaviour of organisations and individuals that collect, use and keep personal information. This includes criminal prosecution, non-criminal enforcement and audit.
  2. A limited number of criminal prosecutions – including this case - are still being dealt with under the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 because of when the offence occurred.
  3. Criminal prosecution penalties are set by the courts and not by the ICO. The maximum penalty for criminal offences under both the Data Protection Act 1998 and the new 2018 Act is an unlimited fine.
  4. A limited number of criminal prosecutions – including this case - are still being dealt with under the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 because of when the offence occurred.
  5. Criminal prosecution penalties are set by the courts and not by the ICO. The maximum penalty for criminal offences under both the Data Protection Act 1998 and the new 2018 Act is an unlimited fine.
  6. To report a concern to the ICO telephone our helpline 0303 123 1113 or go to ico.org.uk/concerns.