Sefton Primary Care Trust has sent thousands of staff records to four organisations it is refusing to name.
Staff details including dates of birth, national insurance numbers, pensions and salary details were sent accidentally to four separate organisations. Sefton PCT will not name the four companies, which were bidding for work with the trust, because of "commercial confidentiality". The four companies were bidding for work within Sefton's Sexual Health Department.
Dr Leigh Griffin, chief executive of Sefton PCT, has written to all staff apologising for the gaffe. More from the BBC here.
Union Unite is calling for an investigation and recommending members change their passwords and check all bank accounts.
Unite's national officer for health, Kevin Coyne, said: "This is a clear breach of the data protection law and if it was an accident, an inquiry must be launched into how and why such sensitive information was passed on to so many external organisations."
Dr Griffin said in a statement: “I am treating this incident extremely seriously and I am confident that we have acted swiftly to protect our staff.
We have had assurances from all the organisations who were wrongly sent the information that it was promptly destroyed."
Griffin sadi the information did not include any financial information.®