Commissioner asks HSE to review records storage

12 Aug 2011

Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes is asking the Health Service Executive (HSE) to review how it stores medical records after files were found in a bin outside a Roscommon hospital.

Earlier this week, confidential files of more than 100 patients from Longford – Westmeath areas who had attended the Midlands Regional Hospital in Mullingar were found in a rubbish bin on the grounds of Roscommon County Hospital.

The Roscommon Hospital Action Committee (HAC) told the Longford Leader the incident highlights concerns over the lack of a proper transfer system between hospitals for confidential medical records. The committee said it was up to the HSE to establish how the files ended up in a rubbish bin.

The Data Protection Commissioner has launched an investigation into the matter and said the member of the Roscommon Hospital Action Committee group who found the documents had acted in good faith.

In a statement, the HSE said it has clear policies in place for the disposal of confidential documents and takes any potential breach of these policies extremely seriously.

“The HSE has established an immediate investigation into claims that confidential patient information was disposed of inappropriately at Roscommon County Hospital,” the statement said.

Photo: Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes