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Inquiry call after Walsh privacy breach


South Australia’s Opposition has called for a judicial inquiry after 13 clinicians accessed the medical records of Cy Walsh following the death of his father, Adelaide Crows coach Phil Walsh, last year.

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Walsh, 27, was taken to Flinders Medical Centre in Adelaide for tests following the death of his father and was later charged with the 55-year-old’s murder.

The accessing of files was uncovered after an audit of patient records sparked an investigation.

Opposition Leader Steven Marshall has called for a judicial inquiry into the state’s new electronic patient records system, saying he has grave concerns it could compromise the privacy and safety of patients.

“This is a very serious breach which the government isn’t taking seriously,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

“How often is this occurring? How often is there unauthorised access to our private patient records?

“Lives will be lost if we don’t get this right.”

The Opposition have also accused Health Minister Jack Snelling of failing to immediately disclose the breach.

The 13 clinicians, including doctors and nurses, have been formally disciplined but Mr Marshall wants to know whether they passed on the information they accessed.

“We’re not sure that the adequate response was arrived at,” he said.

“Absolutely, sacking needs to be considered.”

SA Health chief executive David Swan said the incident was completely unacceptable and health professionals were expected to keep medical records confidential.

“In this instance a small number of our staff have not met the standards we expect,” he told ABC radio.

Phil Walsh was in his first year as Adelaide coach when he died from stab wounds in his home.

His son was charged over his death and remains in custody.

His mental health will be an issue in the case which returns to court in April.


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