Hutt Hospital privacy breach as clinician leaves patient information on the street

A privacy breach at Hutt Hospital saw personal information of 36 patients left on a street outside the hospital.

Rosa Woods / Stuff

A privacy breach at Hutt Hospital saw personal information of 36 patients left on a street outside the hospital.

A privacy breach involving the personal data of 36 patients at Hutt Hospital occurred after four pages of information were left on the streets.

The incident occurred in November, with a letter from the Hutt Valley District Health Board to affected patients this month saying the documents were accidentally dropped by a clinician on Pilmuir St, outside the hospital.

Apologizing to those affected, the DHB said their patients’ names, ages, National Health Index (NHI) number, bed number and clinicians were on the handover sheets, which had been found by a member of the public. The information was destroyed by the finder at the request of the hospital.

Joy Farley, DHB’s director of supplier services, said an internal review of the incident had been carried out and the health board was working with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner “to ensure that all required processes are complete “.

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She said no violation was acceptable and the investigation was launched as soon as the incident was detected.

Farley did not respond to questions about for what purpose a patient’s personal information would be removed from the hospital, or whether this happened on a regular basis. However, she said the survey recommended that the board of health consider ways to educate its staff about privacy policies and training.

DHB was also considering additional document destruction bins and additional signage on how to protect patient information.


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