THE widow of a Partington man who died of cancer wants action after a member of staff at a chemist revealed details of his condition.

Lynn Horton, of Buttermere Road, says she was shocked when she was stopped in the street in December, 2017, by a neighbour who said to her: “Denis isn’t so well, as he has got cancer’."

Mrs Horton said the news stunned her as they are a private family and had kept details of his condition secret.

She said: “Denis had cancer, but he still looked healthy and we kept his condition from family members and friends because that is what he wanted.

“Therefore, it was unbelievable to hear a neighbour tell me he had cancer. When I quizzed her further as to where she had heard, it she said she couldn’t remember, but thought it was general knowledge in the area.”

“We were fairly certain the information hadn’t been leaked through the GP surgery and, as the neighbour’s daughter worked at the local chemist, we complained to them.

Mrs Horton contacted Davey’s Chemist shop in Warburton Lane, where she received an apology from Mary Davey, who visited the couple at their home in early January.

“She told me the member of staff involved had admitted passing on the information of her husband’s condition to her mother and had offered her notice, but she said she didn’t want to accept it.”

Denis, 68, a retired engineer, died on January 22 without ever knowing what the outcome of the data breach was.

But Mrs Horton was not prepared to let the data breach go unchallenged.

She said: “What is the point in having laws which protect people’s data if this pharmacist can get away with such a breach?”

In March, she wrote to the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) to complain only to be told: “On this occasion the member of staff involved in the breach of police is not a registrant of the GPhC.”

It added: “We are satisfied that the Superintendent Pharmacist has investigated the incident and implemented measures to prevent a recurrence of a similar incident.”

Only after this complaint was lodged, did Mrs Horton receive a written letter from the chemist concerned apologising for the breach and explaining what action had been taken.

Mrs Davey said: “I have taken steps to re-train our staff and update our policies to ensure another incident of this nature does not happen again. In my 28 years as a qualified pharmacist, I have never had an incident of this nature and hence have taken the incident very seriously.

“The incident has been particularly upsetting for her (the member of staff). On her behalf I would like to extend her most sincere apologies.”

Mrs Horton added: “It seems incredible that despite complaining to MP Kate Green and to the Information Commissioner’s Office, there is nothing they can do because the latter only deals with living individuals.”