NHS trust sends confidential medical records to wrong address in Northamptonshire

A woman has questioned how she could have ben sent the wrong person's medical records in the post.
A woman has questioned how she could have ben sent the wrong person's medical records in the post.

A mental health patient from Northamptonshire has described her shock at an NHS blunder which saw her sent someone else’s medical details in the post.

The woman from Great Houghton, who did not wish to be named, is calling for an immediate investigation following the error.

The revelation comes shortly after anti-surveilance campaign group Big Brother Watch published figures showing the extent of confidential information breaches made by public bodies across the UK.

The woman, who was a former patient at Berrywood Hospital and suffers from bipolar disorder, requested copies of her medical records from the Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Trust three weeks ago.

But half way through reading the bundle on Thursday, August 6, the woman noticed a series of letters from a consultant to a local GP which talked about a patient’s progress - related to another person altogether.

She said: “I received about eight letters in this bundle. I was reading through and when I was on about the fourth letter I realised they were talking about another patient.

“These were all notes intended for his local GP. It seems this patient lives a couple of villages away, but it is not someone I know thankfully.”

While the woman’s own medical records were also in the bundle, she has questioned whether her details have ever been sent to someone else in error before now and says the incident has caused her a great deal of stress.

“I want someone to apologise and assure me that this won’t happen to anybody else,” she said. “This just shouldn’t happen, lessons, should be learned.

“I thought everything was sent securely and electronically between consultants and GPs. I wonder whether some of my letters have gone missing.”

An NHS spokesperson said: “We take all data breach incidents very seriously and have a staff training programme that supports raising awareness of what constitutes an information governance incident.

“Details have been passed to our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) who have been trying to make contact with the patient this week.

“Once we have the full details we will look into the matter and ensure we address the concerns of those involved.”