Information needed Response
Title and link to statistical output NHS Waiting times - diagnostics

(link to previous release)
Due for release 30 November 2021

Name of producer organisation Public Health Scotland
Name and contact details of person dealing with report Cathy Johnston
Name and contact details of Head of Profession for Statistics/Lead Official Scott Heald
Link to published statement about the breach (if relevant)
Date of breach report 25/11/2021

Information needed Response
Relevant principle(s) and practice(s) T3 Orderly Release
(Accidental or wrongful early release (Principle T3, Practices T3.3)
Date of occurrence of breach 23/11/2021

T3.3 of the code of practice states that access to statistics before their public release should be limited to those involved in the production of the statistics and the preparation of the release, and for quality assurance and operational purposes.

During the Pre Release practice on 23 November for publications due for release on 30 November the publication NHS Stop Smoking Services Local Delivery Plan standard quarterly reporting secure password protected pre-release access link opened the incorrect content (that of another PRA publication – NHS waiting times – diagnostics). This link was circulated to our standard PRA recipients at Scottish Government and Comms managers and CEs at NHS Boards. This was also shared with other authorised recipients eg Smoking Cessation co-ordinators.

A user alerted us that the incorrect content was appearing at this link and this was flagged up to the PHS publications team who fixed it. The incorrect document was attached to the smoking publication page. This user was informed and confirmed that no content was circulated, downloaded or discussed.

The link which pointed to the incorrect publication was sent at 12:37 on 23 November 2021 the content was fixed and at 13:30 on 23 November 2021 (53 mins later). This issue was raised with PHS Statistical Governance on 23 November 2021.

Those that had Pre Release Access to NHS Stop Smoking Services Local Delivery Plan standard quarterly reporting would have had access to NHS waiting times – diagnostics content from the period 12:37 23 November to 13:30 when it was fixed.

As the user confirmed that no content has been circulated, downloaded or discussed and the issue was fixed promptly we consider the impact of this breach is low.

There has been no communication received from any other colleagues on this incident at the time of writing. Therefore we assume that as the content was fixed quickly the number of users who accessed it were minimal.

The report (NHS waiting times – diagnostics) was made available for pre-release access to key stakeholders for the 5-day pre-publication period from 23 November 2021 and will be published in full on 30 November 2021.

The PHS publications team corrected the issue within 53 minutes of the breach ensuring that the PRA link pointed to the correct content. The incorrect document was attached in error and it is planned that further checks will be carried out in future to prevent re-occurrence.

The Statistical Governance team have since had communication with the publications team, though as this was a one-off incident there are no ongoing issues to resolve. The Statistical Governance team will continue to offer advice whenever required