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Friday 21st October 2016

DoH apologise to junior doctors

25th April 2007

The Department of Health has issued an apology after a mistake allowed junior doctors’ details to be made available online.

A security breach on the NHS Medical Training Application Service (MTAS) website allowed the public to see doctors’ details for at least eight hours. The MTAS said that details were only available for a brief period to people running employment checks.

On 25 April, Channel 4 News reported that a doctor had warned them a security problem meant private information was accessible online.

Doctors’ phone numbers, addresses, previous convictions and sexual orientation were available since 9am that day. The Department of Health was informed in the afternoon and they fixed the problem just after 5pm. The Department released an apology and said it was "a very serious matter and is under investigation".

On 26 April, NHS IT advisor Dr Gillian Braunold told MPs that parts of the system’s anti-hacking software would be independently evaluated. The MTAS website has been heavily criticised by doctors, who say the system fails to choose the best candidates.

Health Minister Lord Hunt spoke to BBC Radio 4's Today programme about the incident, and said the information seemed to have been disclosed on purpose.

He stated: "What I can assure you is we've got an urgent investigation taking place, because we clearly have to find out how that information was accessed improperly, whether any criminal offence has taken place and what the lessons are to be learned."

"Yes, it is serious, and we're determined to get to the bottom of it."


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