Staff at a Greater Manchester hospital are being investigated over reports they accessed Sir Alex Ferguson’s medical records while he was there.
The former Manchester United manager had an emergency operation at the Salford Royal Hospital in May after suffering a brain haemorrhage.
Several staff are under investigation “in relation to an information governance breach”, the hospital said.
“We have apologised unreservedly to the patient and their family,” it added.
The Sunday Times reported two doctors, a senior consultant and at least two nurses accessed Sir Alex’s records despite not being responsible for his care.
Sir Alex, 76, was admitted to the Salford Royal on 5 May and was in intensive care prior to his discharge in June.
He later released a video message thanking hospital staff for his treatment.
“Without those people who gave me such great care, I would not be here today,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust declined to confirm the identity of the patient involved but said an “HR process” was underway.
The trust had also “reported the alleged breaches to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)”, she said.
Dr Chris Brookes, chief medical officer for the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, which runs Salford Royal, said: “We can confirm that a number of staff who work at Salford Royal are currently subject to investigation in relation to an information governance breach.
“All of our patients have the right to expect that their information will be looked after securely and accessed appropriately.
“We take patient confidentiality extremely seriously … and will take the appropriate action to ensure staff understand the seriousness of unauthorised access,” Dr Brookes said.
Last year, the ICO publicly warned NHS staff about the “potentially serious consequences of prying into patients’ medical records without a valid reason”.
Since then four NHS staff have been prosecuted or fined in relation to accessing patients’ medical information without authorisation, according to the ICO.