Two lists containing the names and details of 33 patients at Letterkenny University Hospital were found dumped in Letterkenny in recent weeks, Donegal Daily can reveal.
The latest serious breach in patient confidentiality has been confirmed to us by Saolta, the company which governs the hospital.
A spokesperson confirmed that two separate patient lists were found in Letterkenny in both March and May of this year.
The first list was found in refuse by a litter warden and handed over.
The second list was also found by a member of the public and contained a total of 33 names.
All 33 people on the list were contacted and apologised to.
Saolta also notified the Data Protection Commissioner’s office about the security breach.
A spokesperson told Donegal Daily “Letterkenny University Hospital takes all breaches of Data Protection seriously and all such cases are managed in line with HSE policy.
“In March this year, the hospital was made aware of a patient list (not a medical file) which was contained in refuse collected by the litter warden in Letterkenny, in addition in May this year the hospital was advised that a further patient list had been identified off-site.
“In these cases, the hospital retrieved the information and contacted each patient (33 in total) to advise them and apologised to them.
“The hospital has very clear data protection guidelines in place and staff are regularly advised of their responsibility to protect patient data.”
The latest patient scandal comes after we revealed that a medical file on an elderly woman was found in a Letterkenny park on Sunday afternoon last.
That was followed by a medical file belonging to a cancer patient being found outside an apartment block on High Road in Letterkenny.
County councillor Gerry McMonagle asked how many such lists and further information are floating around the streets of Letterkenny and further afield?
“I am stunned by the extent of this breach of patient confidentiality. It seems to be getting bigger and bigger.
“These are the ones that we know about but how many more lists and files are out there blowing around the streets with personal medical details of patients on them.
“This has not happened by accident. Staff from the hospital do not go out and dump confidential information in a skip down the town in Letterkenny,” he said.
He said a full review of how the hospital now disposes of and handles patient information must now be undertaken.
“If this happened in March and the hospital authorities knew about it I want to know what they have done about it.
“Also I want to know if a private company is handling the disposal of materials from the hospital and what protocols they are following,” he said.Tags: