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Pharmacists advised to check fax numbers after hotel receives patient dispensing tokens

Pharmacists have been asked to double check fax numbers used to send medical documents after a hotel group reported receiving dispensing tokens and requests for medication from pharmacies in a personal data breach.

According to a statement from the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, a hotel group (the name of which has not be made public) informed NHS England’s Corporate Information Governance team that it received “a number of faxes” from community pharmacies and GP surgeries across the country.

It added that the faxes include “dispensing tokens, certificates and requests for medication”.

The faxes were sent to two numbers: 08444 119012 and 01564 793558.

NHS England has responded, advising pharmacists and pharmacy teams to “check all fax numbers currently used are not similar to the above fax numbers”, “confirm the fax number with the recipient before sending” and “confirm the fax has been received by the recipient after sending”.

The advice added that pharmacists should “only use fax as a way of communication if no other method is available/suitable”.

The data breach comes after Matt Hancock banned the NHS from buying fax machines after January 2019 and ordered them to be completely phased out by April 2020.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206120

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