Concern over health details being sold

PICTURE TOBY WILLIAMS:  07920841392. COLD CALLING TO THE DOORSTEP, SELLING, OLD PEOPLE/ PENSIONERS.
PICTURE TOBY WILLIAMS: 07920841392. COLD CALLING TO THE DOORSTEP, SELLING, OLD PEOPLE/ PENSIONERS.

An alert Forfar pensioner has spoken out after being contacted by a health company which was aware of her personal health details.

The woman, whose identity we are with-holding, received a phone call last Wednesday from Premier UK Healthcare of Saltcoats which was aware she had angina.

She said: “The following day a representative from the company arrived at my home. He didn’t offer identification - I had to ask for it - he asked if I lived alone which was a wee bit scary.

“When I asked how they knew I had angina, he said I had told them during a telephone conversation three weeks earlier - I had not. He said they buy names and addresses. When I asked the gentleman on my doorstep what he was doing he said he was offering me a trial but I felt he was going to try to sell me something.”

The woman, who is 87, explained she has been on a trial based at Ninewells Hospital for three years and had contacted staff there to alert them.

She continued: “No crime has been committed, he didn’t get the length of trying to get me to buy something. You hear a lot about things like this and I would just say to others - don’t let anyone over your door unless they are an official doctor or nurse.

“I would like to know how they knew about my angina, and where they got my name and address from.”

The trial at Ninewells was run by the University of Dundee.

In a statement it said: “The university will never pass patient contact and medical details on to a third party.

“If anyone receives a call that they are unsure about they should report it to Police Scotland on the non-emergency number 101.

“In this case the university became aware of the incident quickly and immediately reported it to Police, who we understand are investigating the circumstances.”

Police Scotland said: “We received a report of concern regarding the matter and appropriate advice was given in connection with the circumstances.

“We advise that personal information, credit cards or bank details should not be provided to strangers on the telephone. Be very suspicious of unsolicited calls.”

When contacted regarding the incident, a spokesman for Premier UK Healthcare said: “At Premier UK Healthcare we adhere to the Privacy and Electronic Communication regulations (PECR). The protection of our customer’s information and wellbeing is paramount at all times.

“We cannot comment on individual cases but we can confirm that we never purchase data/information from the NHS or affiliates and have no access to NHS data or medical files.

“A proportion of the data we receive is when people have answered questions during a telephone or online survey.

“If the customer wants to raise the matter directly with us we can carry out a detailed investigation and issue a more detailed response.”