Trust 'sorry' over files mix-up

Published Thursday, 26 June 2014
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The Western Health Trust has apologised for a blunder over files at Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry.

A man who had requested his own medical notes was given the highly sensitive clinical records of at least two other patients.

The data breach has been referred to the Information Commissioner.

Gerry Sweeney, a cardiac patient recovering from a heart attack, explained: "First of all, I saw that there were operations which I hadn't had. So I looked up at the top of the page and saw that there was another man's name on my file."

Mr Sweeney's name begins with 'S', and the other two patients' surnames start with 'D' and 'H'. There is no similarity in the surnames and alphabetically they are far apart.

He said that there were 75 pages belonging to one person among his own medical notes and four pages belonging to another patient.

"One of the patients in that file has had a kidney removed. My point is if I was going into hospital incoherent and that file pulled [out] his medication would be almost severely or completely different to mine.

"If I was given his medication, there is potential there for serious injury or death.

"It beggar's belief how they got into the file."

There was also other pages that have no name on them. Mr Sweeney doesn't know who they belong to.

He has described the mix-up as "a disgrace."

The Western Health Trust deals with many thousands of patient records and it says that incidents like this are taken very seriously.

The Trust has apologised to the patients concerned and has reported the incident to the Information Commissioner.

An internal investigation is underway at the Trust which has described the breach as "unacceptable".

© UTV News
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