Data that National Health Service patients in the UK specifically requested be kept private was inadvertently used in a clinical audit and research project due to a nearly three-year-long data processing and management error, a UK government official reported yesterday.

In an official statement, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health Jackie Doyle-Price disclosed the an NHS system provided by clinical software developer TPP contained a defect in the processing of “Type 2 objections,” which was developed as a way for NHS patients to establish restrictions on how their personal data is used.

Doyle-Price's statement notes that roughly 150,000 “Type 2 objections” set between March 2015 and June 2018 were never sent to NHS Digital. As a result, the patients' information was sent in unauthorized fashion in data disseminations between April 2016 and June 26, 2018. The glitch has reportedly since been remedied.

As of May 25, 2018, the UK government replaced the Type 2 objections process with a national data opt-out process that's designed to simplify the processing of registering data sharing objections.