Longford patients’ files found in bin outside Roscommon Hospital

A large percentage of private medical records discovered in a refuse bin outside Roscommon County Hospital belonged to Longford patients of Mullingar General Hospital.

A large percentage of private medical records discovered in a refuse bin outside Roscommon County Hospital belonged to Longford patients of Mullingar General Hospital.

Approximately 100 private medical records were discovered earlier this week, each one detailing information about patients, many of whom attended Accident and Emergency in Mullingar General Hospital in May 2011.

“A major amount of these files were Longford addresses,” said Paul Healy, editor of the Roscommon People who spent time investigating the actual documents. “The vast majority of these files related to May 2011 and the majority of them came from A&E in Mullingar General Hospital.”

It is believed that each file typically contained personal details such as name, address, diagnosis, treatments, doctor’s name, comments, next procedures etc.

The Roscommon Hospital Action Committee (HAC) says that the incident highlights concerns over the lack of a proper transfer system between hospitals for confidential medical records.

The HAC, in a briefing earlier today (Thursday August 11), said that the documents were discovered by a member of the public who was out walking her dog. They also said that they wouldn’t speculate how it happened but that they had “no hand, act or part in it.” The organisation then stated that it was now up to the Health Services Executive (HSE) to establish how the files got there.

In response to this breach of information security, the HSE has issued the following statement:

“The HSE has very clear policies in place for the disposal of confidential documents and takes any potential breach of these policies extremely seriously. The HSE has established an immediate investigation into claims that confidential patient information was disposed of inappropriately at Roscommon County Hospital.”

Full story in this week’s Longford Leader, out Wednesday.