AN INVESTIGATION has been launched at the Countess of Chester Hospital after The Chronicle found confidential patient details lying on the ground in the city centre.
Chester MP Stephen Mosley is ‘appalled’ at the slip-up which he will be raising as the first item on the agenda of a meeting scheduled for today with hospital chief executive Peter Herring.
Chronicle chief reporter David Holmes was walking home on Tuesday evening when he found the three page ‘Doctor Census’ in a passageway near the Dublin Packet pub, in Northgate Street.
The document, marked with Tuesday’s date, was addressed to three doctors and contains 47 patients’ full names, dates of birth, a description of their condition and estimated discharge date.
The Chronicle handed the document back to the Countess which gives diagnosis and treatment details such as ‘abdominal pain’, ‘abscess on bottom’, ‘bowel obstruction’ and ‘proctectomy’.
Reporter Mr Holmes said: “I was walking home from the gym with a colleague when I noticed a document lying on the floor which was folded as though it had just fallen out of somebody’s pocket.
“Although it was dark I could see it was something to do with the Countess and there were patients’ names.”
City MP Mr Mosley said: “I am as appalled as I am alarmed by the discovery of this document. Medical records must always be treated with the utmost care and confidentiality is a given.”
Countess chief executive Mr Herring said 96% of staff had been trained in information governance and patient-identifiable information should not be taken off site.
He added: “I take patient confidentiality very seriously. The Trust has clear policies and procedures to maintain patient confidentiality and security of information. This is a serious and unacceptable breach of these policies by an individual.
“I have already launched a formal investigation and we shall be contacting all the patients affected to explain what has happened and to apologise.”