CASES of snooping on confidential patient data at the trust which runs Colchester Hospital are among the highest in the country, figures reveal.

East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust reported the country’s second highest figure when it came to staff breaching patient privacy.

The Daily Mail revealed today incidents involved nosey employees looking up medical records of friends, family, colleagues and neighbours.

It said in total, 19 staff at the trust which also runs hospitals in Ipswich, Clacton and Harwich were disciplined between 2017 and 2018 for misuse of patient records.

Dr Martin Mansfield, Caldicott Guardian at the trust, said: “Patient confidentiality is a priority, and we have a number of policies in place to make sure we are safeguarding all our patients’ data and information.

Read more: Popular playground reopens after £35,000 refurbishment

“We take any patient data breach seriously, investigate thoroughly, and take action where needed.”

A Caldicott Guardian is a senior person responsible for protecting the confidentiality of people’s health and care information and making sure it is used properly.

Only 73 per cent - 158 of 215 - of the hospital trusts contacted responded to the Daily Mail’s Freedom of Information query.