back to article Scottish doc swerves charges for snooping

A Scottish doctor accused of illegally accessing celebrities' and politicians' medical records will not now be charged with any offences. Dr Andrew Jamieson, who worked at Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline, was charged under Data Protection legislation. He was accused of accessing emergency care summary records for prime …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    So if I were to break into his house

    And just look around "Out of curiosity", not to steal anything, would I be let off?

    1. Lionel Baden

      maybe a better one is

      If i fixed his laptop and went through his my documents/pron stash ??

  2. Matt Hawkins

    Professionals never abuse data. Really?

    Yet another reason why ContactPoint should be binned.

    Our local ContactPoint manager is of the opinion "professionals don't abuse data because if they did they would be prosecuted".

    Meanwhile back in the real World ...

  3. JonW

    Interesting defence

    "he looked at the health records out of curiosity, not to make money" - well, that's all right then, isn't it.

    This is just one reason why I've opted my family out of having an SCR. Madness.

  4. Steve Cass

    @Matthew 13

    If he gave you the keys, probably not.

  5. Cucumber C Face

    Dr Jamieson and Mr McKinnon

    Good job this doc wasn't looking at Pentagon systems 'out of curiosity' then.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Back room deal

    He must have found something really juicy and they offered him a deal in return for his silence.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      He surely did

      Gordon Brown's medication regime.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Some hope for Gary McKinnon, I guess

    "Jamieson told papers he looked at the health records out of curiosity."

    Was he looking for UFOs too?

  8. Martin 49

    Sauce for the goose...

    I'm sure we're all a bit curious now so why can't we all have a gander?

    (Did you see what I did there? ..... Goose.....Gander ? - I'm way too good for this place!)

  9. Graham Marsden

    "out of curiosity..."?

    So when all of our records are on the NHS spine and the National Identity Register and a whole lot of others besides, a *LOT* of people are going to have their curiosity satisfied...

  10. sheila


    Comment here suggests that " he was actually demonstrating how easy it is for anyone in the NHS to access info which they could use and sell to make a point about patient confidentiality."

    Maybe he is one of the good guys...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear Reg

    Why the need to point out that he is Scottish?

    Just curious.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      Re: Dear Reg

      Well, didn't you read the article? "he looked at the health records out of curiosity, not to make money"

      I'll be going now.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Maybe because the legal system is different, so you can't automatically assume the same defence would apply elsewhere in the UK?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ AC 16:17

      Fair point, but I'm not sure that it has any bearing in this case.

      I think the DPA legislation is prosecuted equally and carries equal penalties on both sides of the border. Obviously IANAL so I could very well be making some stupid false assumption about the actual process. Regardless, I'm still not sure it's something that needs to be pointed out in the headline, especially since the case was dropped before going to court.

      My reason for asking was: whenever anything happens not just in Scotland but anywhere "out in the provinces" (including many places within English borders) that fact often ends up as the first word of the Reg's headline. This gives the impression that it's the most important thing you need to know about a story, even when - as is usually the case - it's not.

      Maybe in this case it's just assumed that nobody outside Scotland actually knows where Dunfermline is. Either way it seems a bit parochial of the Reg.

  13. JaitcH

    Updating his medical knowledge?

    Maybe this doctor was simply keeping up with his medical knowledge by reading high profile cases.

    This proves the N.H.S. data records are not secure. I vote to keep mine on paper.

  14. Darkwolf

    The only reason...

    The only reason he may have for looking at the records, is if he ever got these people as patients, would already be somewhat familiar wtih their history.

    Course every doc could use that as an excuse if they wanted to check on anyone.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Proves its insecure (my ar*e)

    Aren't emergency care records meant for doctors to view, in emergency, if a patient turns up at a ward and needs emergency treatment but the hospital has no details about the patient, his medication etc.

    Therefore I would guess that that a large section of doctors who might work in A & E would need to be able to access the emergency care record of anyone who turns up.

    So it's not that the record is insecure (it would be if a plumber was reading the record and not a doctor in a hospital) but that the guy that was reading was an idiot. The good think was that he was caught which would suggest that (on this occasion) the system worked and caught someone doing something dodgy.

    So it doesn't prove that the data records are not secure (no idea if they are or not) but that in any given population there is a number who are idiots and will do an idiotic thing on any system given to them.

    I don't usually stick up for goverment knowing stuff about me but I would rather know that if I'm in A&E that the doctors have my notes (so they don't give me something that kills me because I'm allergic to it) than worry about an idiot doctors looking me up and then getting caught.

    My 2p worth.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Easy solution?

    Clearly there is a case for giving doctors access to everyone's medical records. Wouldn't a solution be to inform patients when their records are accessed? You could exclude from this their own regular doctors, but anyone else will cause a text/email/letter.

    So if you get one and were in casualty 2 days earlier then fine, otherwise you can start asking questions about who and why. OK it would cost a bit (not so much for the people with email accounts) but worth it I think.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ AC 16:17

    But since its a UK database, he would get charged the same as anyone else in the rest of the UK.

    A bit like hacking into computers across the pond...

  18. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    Medical records need to be accessible to "appropriate staff"

    The fun part is "appropriate". If I fall under a bus and end up in A&E, I'd like them to have access to my records - and obviously I can't arrange that ahead of time. Other NHS services - generally, we know who's coming and can gain permission. But once you're "in the system" granularity of access is a nightmare. If you're admitted to my hospital with a chest infection, your lab results go into the general system. Can the surgeons see your results? Yes - but they usually won't be interested unless you get transferred to their care. We COULD apply tighter restrictions, but generally we don't. The rule is not "You can't" - because we know that never works! - but "You shouldn't - and we're watching." If someone access records inappropriately action should be taken - but IANAL and I don't know if DPA would work here.

    However, professional behaviour is not enforced by the law, but by professional bodies. I don't know why the (Scottish equivalent of the) Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute, but I suspect the GMC may still have an interest.

    He hasn't necessarily got off, ahem, Scot free.

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