Staff punished for Ryder privacy breach

Four clinicians who breached patient confidentiality by spying on bashed cricket star Jesse Ryder's medical records have been "subject to a disciplinary process".

But to what extent, the Christchurch District Health Board (CDHB) would not disclose.

The board said today that the investigation into the high-profile privacy breach was complete.

The investigation found there had been seven searches of Ryder's X-ray records by staff not involved in his case.

The incident was "unacceptable" and the breach by those staff was "extremely disappointing", CDHB chief executive David Meates said.

"I want to reassure the public that patient confidentiality is paramount," he said.

"Patients should rightly expect their health information will be accessed only by staff involved in their care and treatment or as part of a quality review process."

Ryder had been given a copy of the report findings and was satisfied with the action the board had taken, Meates said.

The investigation found that the CDHB staff involved did not pass on any of the information they viewed.

A routine audit uncovered the privacy breach just days after Ryder was discharged.

Ryder spent spent six days in Christchurch Hospital after he was attacked by two men outside Aikmans Bar in Merivale in March.

Meates said it was "reassuring" that the board's system picked up the breach.

"From a systems perspective, we are able to ensure access to patient information is traceable. Every time a record is accessed, an electronic footprint is left on a patient's file," he said.

"That was how we were alerted to the inappropriate access to Mr Ryder's electronic clinical information. It's positive that the process works, but a huge disappointment that it had to."

All Meates would say on the consequences for the staff involved was that they had been "subject to a disciplinary process".

Another staff member, who had been seconded from another organisation to work at the CDHB at the time, was being disciplined under a "separate process", he said.

A South Canterbury DHB employee and two West Coast DHB staff had been "managed" by each health board's management and human resources team.

Fairfax Media