Patient records not properly shredded

[This is a summary of an article on ComputerWeekly.com]

Shredded patient records – but with some information still showing – have ended up as packaging to keep gift boxes undamaged.

The records originated from Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire which is investigating the incident. It appears that the records were sent by the hospital to a solicitor which acts for patients.


The records were then shredded inadequately and turned up turned upat a jeweller’s as packing for gift boxes. Kerry Wilkinson, of PennyDogJewellery in Rothley, Leicestershire found the patient records whenshe took delivery of the boxes and bags for her gift-wrapping service.

She told the Cambridge News:”I phoned the hospital immediately and they are investigating. Theysaid they would contact the solicitors and the company which sent theboxes.”

The name and address of the hospital were visible but the patient records themselves do not appear to have been readable. The incident shows that departures from time-honoured procedures for disposal of confidential information can haveserious consequences.

Papworth, which is world-renown for its pioneering heart surgery, saidthat when confidential material leaves the site it usually  “resemblesunreadable confetti and is not identifiable”.

A company collects the shredded material from Papworth and takes it toa secure warehouse where it is packaged into large bales which aredelivered to a recycling plant. It is then turned into recycled paper.

But the hospital concedes that the secure process is bypassed whenpatients ask for their notes to be sent to a third party such as asolicitor.

The hospital said: “In these circumstanceswe would expect that extreme care is taken in the disposal of thesedocuments by this third party.

Link:

Shredded patient records deliver a gift-wrapped data breach – ComputerWeekly.com

Patient’s data used as packing – Cambridge News

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