Bloomfield apologises to Covid-19 patients who had personal details leaked

By Jessica Tyson

Health director-general Dr Ashley Bloomfield has apologised to 18 people who had tested positive for Covid-19 and had their personal details leaked in a privacy breach.

"The first thing I want to do is to acknowledge the 18 people affected by this privacy breach. We have been in contact with them all to apologise, 17 of whom we spoke to in person, and to keep them informed."

Earlier this month State Services Minister Chris Hipkins commissioned the urgent investigation by the State Services Commission with QC Michael Heron to look into how the breach occurred and what could be done to make sure it didn’t happen again.

Bloomfield says the immediate action was for the ministry to cease sharing the information to external parties.

"At the same time, we have reviewed the list of organisations and people who would receive this information should it be required again in future, to ensure there is a clear reason for them to receive it.”

He says there was already a clear policy and the information was shared in line with that.

"Should personal information be required to be shared with external parties in the near term, we will distribute this using a secure process including the use of password protection for any emailed information.”

A breach of contract notice has also been issued to the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust.