Potential privacy breach at RBWH Head and Neck Clinic

Metro North Health is responding to a potential privacy breach involving patients of the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital head and neck clinic.

The breach may have occurred when the personal email account of a clinician was hacked. The clinician, who works both publicly and privately, had used the personal email account for some work activities.

The clinician alerted Metro North and the Federal Privacy Commissioner to the hack and security measures have been put in place.

The patient information in the hacked email account may include personal contact and appointment details.

The use of personal email accounts is against Queensland Health policy, where patient confidentiality is paramount, and a number of safety measures are in place to prevent hacking of government email accounts.

Metro North takes patient confidentiality seriously and is now focussing on increased staff awareness and education surrounding correct email use and cyber security.

While Metro North’s investigation has found no evidence patient information has been viewed as part of the private email hack, the advice is cautionary for patients who may have been affected. Metro North has also referred the matter to the Queensland Information Commissioner.

Patients of the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital head and neck clinic who are concerned they might be affected can contact the dedicated patient liaison service from 8am – 4pm, Monday to Friday on 07 3647 8216.

Callers are advised to leave a voicemail if the phone line is unattended and they will be phoned back as soon as possible or email