Patients' files discovered in park after Donegal hospital break-in
GARDAI are investigating a break-in at a hospital which left patient files strewn over a town park.
The Data Protection Commissioner has asked for a report into the incident at the St Conal’s site of Letterkenny General Hospital.
A member of the public found more than 20 patient files in a public park adjacent to the site of the Co Donegal hospital.
“They were strewn over a public park,” he said, “I was shocked when I saw them.”
The HSE West however said there was no question of staff negligence in the case and security was being stepped up last night at the site.
A spokewoman for the health authority said medical archives were raided when thieves broke into the hospital.
“Letterkenny Hospital was advised on Wednesday that a break in at its St Conal’s site resulted in archived physiotherapy records being removed from its long term storage and the documentation being dumped by the offender or offenders,” said the spokeswoman.
“Once this issue was brought to our attention, the HSE immediately notified the Gardai who are currently investigating the matter.
“It would appear that the offender(s) scaled the building and broke in through a window on the third floor. Additional security measures are currently being put in place in the building.”
She said the HSE has ‘very clear policies in place’ for the storage and disposal of confidential documents and takes any potential breach of these policies extremely seriously.
“The Hospital Management deeply regrets that this unacceptable vandalism resulted in some patient physiotherapy records being dumped in the adjacent area. The Hospital is working closely with the Data Protection Commissioner and the Gardai in respect of this incident,” added the spokeswoman.
A spokeswoman for the Data Protection Commission said it had asked the hospital to secure the patient documents and file a full report on the incident.
She added an investigation may follow once the report is received.
“We are expecting to hear back from the HSE in the next day or two,” said the spokeswoman.