Charges won't be pursued in Eastern Health privacy breach
Eastern Health will not pursue criminal charges against employees who breached the authority's strict privacy rules, including those who have already lost their jobs.
Five workers were dismissed for looking at the medical records of patients they weren't caring for, Eastern Health revealed last week.
In a statement e-mailed to CBC News, an official said while the authority takes its responsibility as custodians of personal health information very seriously, Eastern Health will not "at this time" pursue charges against anyone in the matter.
That's despite an admission from fired nurse Colleen Weeks, who told CBC News last week that she not only looked at files for her own reasons, but also did so for others.
"I was asked by a Supreme Court judge to verify that my ex-husband had been in the hospital, which I did so," Weeks said.
Eastern Health found that Weeks had looked at the records of 122 patients that were outside her care.
Weeks, who worked at the Health Sciences Centre before she was fired last week, said she often took brief looks at records of people she was trying to help, and said that the practice is common.
Lucy McDonald, a privacy consultant and a former chief privacy officer for the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information, said provincial law states that intentional breaches can result in charges as well as fines of as much as $10,000 or jail terms as long as six months.
McDonald said the breaches described in last week's revelations were serious.