Over 400,000 organ donation details stored incorrectly


The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has wrapped the knuckles of NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) for inaccurately recording the preferences of hundreds of thousands of prospective organ donors.

The health organisation, which is responsible for the Organ Donation Register (ODR), was found to have recorded the preferences of 444,031 people incorrectly due to a software error which dated back to 1999.

NHSBT was unaware of the issue until March of last year when it discovered the information on the ODR differed from that held by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

An investigation was launched and the NHSBT reported back to the ICO in April of last year whilst halting the data it received from the DVLA.

Now, the ICO has made Alan McDermott, the senior information risk officer at the NHSBT, sign an undertaking to ensure his organisation is more "robust" in checking the accuracy of the data is holds and systematically sample it. Yet again, the ICO has decided not to use its powers to fine.

Mick Gorrill, head of enforcement at the ICO, said: "The decision to donate an organ is a significant one and it is important that the preferences of the donors are recorded accurately. In this case errors were made in the recording of the donor's wishes."

"I welcome the NHSBT's commitment to correcting the inaccurate data and their willingness to make sure this type of incident does not happen again by introducing a variety of new security measures."

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.