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Paramedics' drug and alcohol history exposed in Victorian data breach



The ambulance union has railed against the "sheer incompetence" which saw private drug and alcohol tests of paramedics posted online.

The drug and alcohol tests of graduate paramedics in Victoria were accessible for all staff to view on Ambulance Victoria (AV)'s intranet.

An Ambulance Victoria spokesperson said the data exposed was captured between May 2017 and October 2018.

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"Since becoming aware, AV has removed access to these documents and has undertaken an access audit of these documents," the spokesperson said.

"The documents were not directly accessible to anyone outside of the organisation.

"We take privacy very seriously and acknowledge the distress that this may cause.

"Those affected are being notified and will be provided wellbeing support."

The personal information affects both employees of Ambulance Victoria and prospective employees.

The documents were not publicly available to anyone outside Ambulance Victoria, but the 4000 employees had access to their colleagues' results.

Victorian Ambulance Union secretary Danny Hill said hundreds of paramedics had their data exposed.

"We had a member stumble across this by chance," he told 3AW.

"Absolutely I think there will be legal ramifications … it's just a massive, massive systemic breach of the most basics of privacy."

Hill said the breach would make paramedics fearful of seeking help for drug and alcohol problems.

"What you want is a system where people feel comfortable coming to their employer and saying, 'I need some help'," he said.

"It drives the problem underground because they can't have trust in their service."

The union has demanded a full audit of whoever has accessed that information.

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