Somerset NHS Foundation Trust has begun to contact patients who have been affected by a data breach at Musgrove Park Hospital.

The trust announced at the end of last week that it had started to contact people, after up to 200 patients at the hospital had their hospital records inappropriately accessed by a member of staff.

According to the trust, over a period of six years, the staff member accessed the hospital records of people who were known to them.

As part of their role within the hospital, the staff member was able to access certain demographic details, A&E attendances including dates and basic admission information; inpatient admissions, including dates, wards, consultant and speciality; and outpatient appointments, including dates, consultant and specialty.

Somerset NHS Foundation Trust has confirmed that the member of staff at no point had access to clinical letters, discharge summaries, community, mental health or sexual health records, or medical or nursing records.

Phil Brice, director of corporate services for Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We apologise unreservedly to every person whose hospital record has been inappropriately accessed in this way. Many NHS professionals need access to confidential information in order to do their jobs effectively. Every colleague in our trust undertakes regular information governance training and we understand that we are in a position of trust. Very sadly, this was not respected in this case.”

The incident has been reported to the Information Commissioner and Avon and Somerset Police is investigating.

The trust has contacted anyone whose records were breached to inform them what has happened, to apologise unreservedly and to extend an offer to meet them to discuss the issue if they wish to.

The trust has reported the breach to the Information Commissioner and Avon and Somerset Police is investigating.

A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset Police said: “We are investigating an incident of a suspected data breach at a Somerset hospital.

“One person has attended a voluntary interview and enquiries are ongoing. The hospital is making contact with all those affected.”

According to a BBC report, the member of staff in question is no longer working with Somerset NHS Foundation Trust.