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Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's consumer affairs reporter.

Eel sequel has doctors up in arms

Photo / File / Thinkstock
Photo / File / Thinkstock

The senior doctors' union has objected to what it calls an "over-the-top" privacy agreement sent to Auckland District Health Board staff after files of a patient admitted to hospital with an eel inside him were improperly accessed.

In April, 33 health workers were disciplined for snooping at x-rays and information on the man who had an eel removed from inside him.

ADHB proposed a new staff privacy agreement that has caused concern among senior medical staff, said Association of Salaried Medical Specialists union director Ian Powell.

The agreement listed seven requirements around patient privacy and internet use. Mr Powell said union members were particularly concerned about a clause that stated staff "will be held accountable for all transactions that occur in any of ADHB's information systems that used your logon/password".

Staff would be responsible for ensuring anti-virus software was up to date and downloads were authorised.

The union presented its concerns to a Joint Consultation Committee meeting on Monday, and requested the agreement be replaced with a "reminder" letter.

ADHB chief executive Ailsa Claire said: "The event that triggered this whole process saw a significant number of staff, including doctors, breach confidentiality. It is clear, therefore, that we need to take action to reinforce our expectations so that such an event does not occur again."

She said the board was working with staff to remedy "some issues with the form we have circulated".

- NZ Herald

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