Security breach at Newstead must be 
taken seriously

THIS week we reveal a surprising, some might say, shocking, lack of security by NHS Borders – windows and a door left open in a temporary cabin in the grounds of the health authority’s headquarters at Newstead.

Health chiefs quickly and readily put their hands up when we confronted them with this breach.

They described it as “concerning” because they take matters of security seriously.

Well, one would hope so. But on this occasion – and on how many others – they did not. Their director of estates perhaps gives away a hint that last weekend’s breach perhaps wasn’t the first when he confirms that new measures to improve security at Newstead were “recently” put in place.

He declares that there was no clinical or patient information stored in the temporary facility.

But if security is required, something must be there that requires to guarded and protected.

This incident may not be as serious as a surgeon somewhere, sometime, leaving a soiled swab or a clamp inside a patient, but it remains a serious incident that raises the question of just how secure are patient files and other documents.

And let us not forget that this breach follows just weeks after Scottish Borders Council was fined a whopping £250,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office for the sloppy manner in which in permitted sensitive and confidential information on discs to be disposed of by a private company.

And this week we confirm there is no chance of that fine, paid for by us, the taxpayers, being recouped from that private company because it is no longer trading.

There is a big difference of course between Scottish Borders Council and NHS Borders.

Councillors who fall short of the mark can be pushed out at the ballot box.

But the taxpayer has no such recourse when it comes to the non-elected members of the board of NHS Borders.