The Haga hospital in The Hague has given 85 members of staff an official warning for looking at the medical files of a television celebrity who was hospitalised after a suicide attempt.
Samantha de Jong, better known as Barbie, was admitted to hospital in January after trying to kill herself. She had hardly been off the tv since she took part in reality soap Oh Oh Cherso, about a group of Dutch youngsters on Crete, in 2010.
The members of staff were not involved in treating the tv reality star and were there not entitled to check her files, the hospital said.
The hospital says if any of the members of staff do the same thing again, they will be sacked on the spot. The Dutch privacy watchdog has begun its own investigation into the case.
Concerns about privacy have been one of the major brakes on developing a nationwide digital medical record system in the Netherlands.
In 2011 the upper house of parliament pulled the plug on a €300m project to introduce such a system due to privacy concerns.
The government is now planning to introduce a system allowing patients to ‘manage’ their own medical records on their computer or mobile phone and decide who should have access to what information.
Health minister Bruno Bruins has allocated €3m to develop what he calls a ‘personal healthcare environment’ created by an alliance of patients, health insurers, healthcare providers and the national healthcare IT institute.
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