Equipment company sparks Welsh alert

Concerns are being raised that a therapeutic equipment company operating in Wales may have obtained personal data on physiotherapy patients.

NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership issued an alert about the company, Niagara Therapy, in December to all GPs in Wales.

The alert warned of ‘attendance by a physiotherapy company called Niagara Therapy who may be attending elderly NHS patients for treatments at home which is charged to the patient directly’.

It also mentioned ‘concern relating to the possible sharing of patient medical information’.

However, the company has denied the claims.

A physiotherapist in the north Wales area first raised the concerns that Niagara Therapy’s salespeople appeared to have private medical information about potential customers.

This led to the Wales-wide alert.

CSP member Alun Morgan, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board’s clinical director of therapies and assistant director of therapies and health sciences, said the situation raised the issue of information governance.

Mr Morgan added: ‘This highlights the importance of complying with the CSP’s professional code of practice, maintaining patient confidentiality and ensuring that information is not passed on to third parties without their consent.’

He also said the concerns about the equipment company had now been taken to Wales’ Local Authority Trading Standards Services.

In a statement, a spokesperson from Niagara Therapy told Frontline: ‘All our sales agents are trained to the highest standards and we monitor their performance on a daily basis.

‘We fully enforce and uphold our legal obligations ensuring full compliance with data protection laws and doorstep selling guidelines.’

The company, which manufactures and distributes therapeutic beds, chairs and massage equipment, primarily sells its products through visits to people’s homes.

Robert Millett

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