Seven prominent BBC journalists are among a group of patients who have been warned that their personal health records may have been inappropriately accessed by a doctor.

In a letter from NHS Fife, the patients, who include presenter Jackie Bird and Elizabeth Quigley, the reporter wife of Finance Secretary John Swinney, have been told that a doctor may have read part of their electronic medical details with no good reason, following an investigation by police.

The doctor, who has not been identified, is facing charges relating to an allegation of misuse of access to NHS electronic records.

The letter from Fife Health Board tells patients the doctor may have looked at part of their electronic clinical record on a computer screen.

In recent years NHS Scotland has developed what is known as an emergency care summary - a file containing details of each patients' name, age, address, any medication they are currently receiving and the name of their GP.

These electronic summaries were created so that doctors in accident and emergency departments or other round-the-clock services could quickly access details about people needing urgent medical help.

The doctor must seek consent from the patient before reading the material, unless the patient is unconscious.

NHS Fife said they could not explain why a doctor may have abused their ability to read electronic records.

They would not say how many patients had been warned but according to a story on the BBC's news website others who received the letter included TV presenters Catriona Shearer and Abeer MacIntyre, weather presenter Judith Tonner, home affairs correspondent Reevel Alderson and environment correspondent Louise Batchelor.

Yesterday, patients caught in the mysterious drama told The Herald they were deeply concerned by what might have motivated such behaviour.

One woman from Glasgow said: "It's bad enough discovering that my private medical records have been accessed in this way but what's really disconcerting is not knowing what this guy was up to.

"How come someone in Fife can see NHS records for anyone in Scotland? I've got absolutely no connection at all with Fife."

A 57-year-old man from Glasgow, who was also affected, said at first he assumed the doctor may have been doing research for a drug company, but became more anxious when he realised a report had been submitted to the procurator-fiscal about the matter.

He said: "My initial thought was, this is a doctor that has been a bit naughty. Then as I read on I was a bit concerned."

The patient said he questioned whether the doctor wanted to get data to access his bank account or even - with doctors currently on trial for terrorism charges after the attack on Glasgow Airport - if the doctor might try to use information to obtain fake identification.

The man added: "I was also heartened that NHS Fife had contacted me and that a breach may have been detected. I just wonder how long it may have been there and if anyone else is abusing their access."

A spokesman for NHS Fife said no patient data had been lost and patient care had not been compromised. He added that there would be no further comment until any possible employee conduct issues had been resolved.

The doctor involved is not currently practising.

A Fife Police spokeswoman confirmed that the force had investigated the allegation at the request of NHS Fife.

She added: "Following that investigation, a report has been submitted to the procurator-fiscal."

It is understood that health boards across Scotland have been advised to review their procedures following the incident.