Page last updated at 14:50 GMT, Monday, 11 May 2009 15:50 UK

Baby records theft sparks inquiry

Aberdeen Maternity Hospital
The inquiry centres on baby records from Aberdeen Maternity Hospital

An inquiry is under way after the records of babies born in Aberdeen Maternity Hospital were handed in after apparently being stolen.

Letters of apology have been sent to 175 parents after the records of their babies born between 2001 and 2008 were given to NHS Grampian.

The documents appeared to have been stolen before they could be shredded.

Most parents are from the north east, with others from Lanarkshire, Shetland, Orkney, Tayside and Ayrshire and Arran.

The records were handed to the health board anonymously by a member of the public.

Richard Carey
We very much regret that this has happened and apologise sincerely
Richard Carey
NHS Grampian chief executive

The information contained details of mothers' names, date of caesarean section, the time of the decision to carry out the section, and time of birth.

The data was being used for an audit in the labour ward, designed to see if there were delays for mothers once a decision has been made to perform a section.

An internal investigation was launched, and Grampian Police have been notified.

NHS Grampian chief executive Richard Carey told BBC Scotland: "We very much regret that this has happened and apologise sincerely. We felt we had to write to the parents concerned.

"What we think has happened is someone has put their hand into a bag prior to it being sent for shredding.

"Someone has been able to access that bag before it was uplifted by the porters. That's something we need to tighten up."

Guidance has been issued to staff "reinforcing existing data security policies".

'Come forward'

Grampian Police Det Ch Insp Mark Cooper said: "We have received a report and the matter is being investigated.

"We would appeal for anyone with any information on this to come forward and contact us."

In April, a laptop containing personal details of almost 1,400 patients was stolen from Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

NHS Grampian said it was taken from a locked office cupboard in the gastro-intestinal area.

It contained details of 1,392 patients including names and addresses, dates of birth, and coded clinical information.

The data was said to be double password protected.

Have you been affected by the Aberdeen Maternity Hospital baby records incident? Contact the BBC Scotland news website by clicking here hereto send an email, or pasting into an email.

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