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'Careless' HSE rapped on lost patient records; Documents found in pub & on bus.


PATIENT records with sensitive medical details have been misplaced nearly 500 times by the HSE.

Documents from a north-west hospital were found in a pub last year, while lost files turned up on a bus in Waterford.

These were among 465 data protection breaches between January last year and May, internal documents have revealed.

The Irish Patients Association's Stephen McMahon said: "A patient's right to privacy and confidentiality should not be violated by careless custody of their records."

He added that while "it's not a witch hunt," individuals responsible for data protection breaches should be identified and there should be full disclosure to the patients or families affected.

The breaches have been described as "serious incidents" by a patient advocacy group, which criticised the "careless custody" of individuals' private medical records by the HSE.

Files from Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda were found outside the facility by members of the public on four occasions at locations including a garden and a nearby walkway. In Roscommon, a data protection breach was reported by the area's mental health services last year after personnel records covering a fiveyear period were lost and never recovered.

A number of breaches occurred when photos or videos of patients were uploaded on social media without their consent.

These included one incident last December, when a staff member at Galway Mental Health Services accidentally posted a picture of a client on Facebook.

Last February, mental health services records containing personal data were found during the excavation of a site in Kilkenny, while a list of patients was discovered in a bag of rubbish that was illegally dumped in Letterkenny in March 2018.

At University Hospital Galway a CT scan was accidentally included in records released to a third party in response to a FOI request, while University Hospital Waterford mistakenly attached a prescription to unrelated records related to another FOI request.

A spokesman for the health authority said: "The HSE takes all breaches of data protection seriously and all such cases are fully investigated to establish how they occurred."


never A patient of in the ye ne ovu atient f n de he 465 Number of times HSE lost medical records of patients

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 10, 2019
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