Confidential patient notes from Stevenage’s Lister Hospital found in street
- Credit: Archant
An investigation has been launched after confidential medical notes from Lister Hospital in Stevenage were found in the street.
The notes are understood to have related to 14 urology patients. Urology focuses on medical diseases of the urinary tract system and the male reproductive organs.
The ward handover notes, which included names, dates of birth and medical details, were on a form that was picked up by a member of the public near the bus station in Luton.
A spokesman for the East and North Herts NHS Trust, which runs Lister, said the notes were returned to the hospital on Friday afternoon.
He said: “Ward handover notes are generated when a clinical team on a ward hands over the patients in their care to their incoming colleagues. This is a vital part of ensuring continuity of care, but also that procedures and treatment plans get followed through.
“Whilst these handover notes carry some patient information, they are not full sets of notes on each patient - although they should never leave the hospital.
“We work very hard with staff to ensure patient information is kept secure and confidential at all times.
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“Keeping handover notes secure is a problem nationally, as staff will use them to refer throughout their shift.
“A great deal of training is provided to our staff. We also have locked confidential shredding bins in all clinical areas, as well as in ward staff rooms.
“Until such time as this process is digitalised, there is always the risk that someone leaves the ward with handover notes on their person.
“A thorough investigation will be carried out to ensure we establish what happened and to learn any lessons. We will also use this incident to remind our staff proactively of the importance of safeguarding information at all times.
“We offer our sincere apologies to the patients involved for what has happened.”