04/15/2015 02:54 EDT | Updated 06/25/2015 06:59 EDT

Agency apologizes to 39 patients after employee snoops in private health records

VICTORIA - The health authority on Vancouver Island says an employee who had nothing to do with the care of 39 patients accessed their health records out of curiosity about friends or neighbours.

Suzanne Germain, with Island Health, says an investigation began last November after someone alleged that a longtime worker was snooping at confidential information.

She says the employee's access to confidential data was revoked last month after sufficient evidence about the privacy breach was uncovered.

A separate and unrelated privacy breach involving two other employees came to light last October involving 112 patients whose records were accessed.

None of the workers is currently employed with the agency, which says all staff will be required to complete a new privacy program once a year and sign an agreement on appropriate handling of health records.

Island Health says it has apologized to all the patients whose personal information was accessed.