Eastern Health reported Tuesday that an employee inappropriately accessed 20 patient records in a privacy breach.

According to a release from the health authority, the administrative employee has resigned in light of the investigation.

Eastern Health said it has identified all of the patients affected, and will make contact to advise them of the deliberate breach.

"On behalf of Eastern Health, I want to publicly apologize to the patients whose privacy has been breached," said Don Keats, interim President and CEO of Eastern Health in the release.

"We believe it is important to publicly discuss these privacy breaches to create further awareness among all health care workers of the importance of maintaining the privacy of our patients, residents and clients."

Eastern Health has had to deal with several privacy breaches in recent years.

In July 2012, Eastern Health fired five employees for breaching patient confidentiality, in the largest privacy breach in Newfoundland and Labrador's history. The authority said one nurse deliberately accessed 122 medical records she had no right to see. 

In September 2012, the authority revealed that the records of 46 patients at an unnamed rural clinic had been inappropriately accessed by two clerks, one of whom was fired. The other resigned. 

In April 2013, the authority reported two separate incidents in which briefcases were stolen from vehicles. One contained a patient chart and notes on 62 patients, while the other contained information on two patients.