Page last updated at 14:37 GMT, Thursday, 30 October 2008

Patient data breach at hospital

Wishaw General Hospital
The files contained the names, ages and medication details of patients

NHS bosses in Lanarkshire have apologised after sensitive patient documents were left unattended and removed from Wishaw General hospital.

It follows a complaint from a relative of a patient who was able to lift files left lying on a ward and take them home.

The documents contained the names, ages and medical information of other patients.

Local MSP, Jack McConnell, called for an investigation into the matter.

This latest data breach follows a case earlier this year when X-rays marked with patients' names, photographs and other paperwork were found scattered at Law Hospital in Carluke.

Mr McConnell said: "There needs to be an urgent and detailed investigation into this matter.

We would like to apologise for any anxiety this has caused to our patients or their families
Rosemary Lyness
NHS Lanarkshire
"

"It follows far too soon from the discovery of confidential documents at the old Law Hospital. "

He added: "This is very personal information which must be kept in a secure environment.

"NHS Lanarkshire must take steps to reassure the public that proper systems are in place and are implemented to ensure consistently higher standards."

Rosemary Lyness, director of acute services at NHS Lanarkshire said: "We take any breach of patient confidentiality extremely seriously and regret that this information has been allowed to enter the public domain.

"We would like to apologise for any anxiety this has caused to our patients or their families.

She added: "We would like reassure members of the public that as soon as we were made aware of this breach we took steps to recover the information and inform the patients involved.

"We have now launched an internal investigation to identify how such a breach could happen and to ensure a similar incident does not occur in the future."

Patient confidence

SNP MSP Alex Neil also expressed concern at the data breach.

He said: "The seriousness of this cannot be overstated. There must be an urgent and detailed enquiry looking into the practices of all NHS Lanarkshire hospitals to ensure this does not happen again.

"Patient confidence in the NHS is an important issue and to regain confidence here in Lanarkshire, people need to see that measures are being taken to protect their data."



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