Probe into data leak – as patients private letters end up in Newtown

Reporter:

Elgan Hearn

THE INFORMATION Commissioner is probing a data leak which saw sensitive information meant for nine patients in Shropshire, end up in Montgomeryshire.

An envelope containing the nine letters from a consultant for patients right across Shropshire were wrongly included in a letter sent to a patient in Newtown.

The envelope was passed on to health campaigner Cllr Joy Jones, who brought the matter to the attention of the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust (SaTH).

SaTh has said that a full investigation into the data breaches is underway and that it takes the confidentiality of its patients very seriously.

Cllr Jones, said: “These letters contain personal information and in five letters there was extremely personal and sensitive information, about their conditions and treatments.”

“The patient here realised the error and gave them to me to deal with as they were concerned and shocked about what they had received as they are also worried in case their information might get sent out to the wrong person.

“It has caused concern because if the hospital has problems with one data leak it causes worry that there may be others.

“I am sure the patients will want some kind of assurances from the hospital for this awful breach of their personal information and the distress I am sure it will have caused them.

“I am only interested that they investigate this carefully to make sure that they do everything to prevent this happening in the future and I would also like an assurance that they will do their utmost to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

Dr Edwin Borman, medical director and Caldicott Guardian at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said: “I can confirm that this matter has been brought to our attention and a full investigation is currently under way.

“SaTH takes very seriously its responsibility to maintain the confidentiality of our patients.

“This includes investigating the relatively small number of cases where errors have led to a breach of confidentiality, so that we can learn how to prevent these in future and can apologise to any patients affected in this way.”

A spokeswoman for the Information Commissioner’s Office, said: “We are aware of an incident involving Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust and will be making inquiries.”

Email:

elgan.hearn@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the County Times

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