Hospital to take 'investigatory and disciplinary steps' after staff tried to access Kate's records

ITV News understands that the Princess of Wales has been informed of the investigation

The London Clinic, where the Princess of Wales had her abdominal surgery earlier this year, will take "all appropriate investigatory, regulatory and disciplinary steps" following reports of alleged data breaches, the chief executive of the hospital said.

According to The Mirror, an investigation has been launched at the private hospital in central London after at least one member of staff tried to access Kate’s notes while she was a patient there in January.

In a statement, Al Russell, the CEO of the London Clinic said: "Everyone at the London Clinic is acutely aware of our individual, professional, ethical and legal duties with regards to patient confidentiality."

He added staff take "enormous pride in the outstanding care and discretion" and that a system is in place to "monitor management of patient information".

"In the case of any breach, all appropriate investigatory, regulatory and disciplinary steps will be taken.

"There is no place at our hospital for those who intentionally breach the trust of any of our patients or colleagues."

It comes as the UK data watchdog said it is "assessing" the reports, first made by the Daily Mirror on Tuesday.

The UK privacy and data protection watchdog said it had received a breach report.

An Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) spokesperson said on Tuesday: “We can confirm that we have received a breach report and are assessing the information provided.”

Health minister and former nurse Maria Caulfield said: "If inappropriate people are looking at records then action will be taken.

"We all know as healthcare professionals we should not be accessing medical records of any patient," she said.

Ms Caulfield added: "There are serious implications, fines can be issued, prosecutions can be made."

ITV News understands that the Kate has been informed, as that is usual practice when such a data breach has occurred.

A Kensington Palace spokesperson told ITV News: "This is a matter for The London Clinic."

The reports about the investigation come after weeks of speculation over Kate's health and her whereabouts after the Palace said she would be away from official duties until Easter while she recovered.

Details of Kate’s condition have not been disclosed but Kensington Palace previously said it was not cancer-related and that the princess wished for her personal medical information to remain private.

A spokesperson for The London Clinic told ITV News: "We firmly believe that all our patients, no matter their status, deserve total privacy and confidentiality regarding their personal medical information."

Kate’s absence from public life, after her surgery, has led to wild conspiracy theories on social media about her whereabouts and health.

Footage emerged of Kate out shopping with the Prince of Wales at the weekend at the Windsor Farm Shop close to their Adelaide cottage home in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

Nelson Silva, 40, who filmed Kate shopping, told The Sun he believes the conspiracy theorists are “delusional”.

He said: “I’m not so much shocked that these comments have continued, I’m just confused how exactly they can continue.

“This is a video clearly showing her and William. I saw them with my own eyes. It was a completely relaxed situation.”

This is the Royal Rota - our weekly podcast about the royal family, with ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship and Producer Lizzie Robinson