Review after hospital’s fax blunder

PUBLISHED: 12:14 28 August 2008 | UPDATED: 16:29 05 May 2010

AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after a hospital patient s pathology results were faxed to a member of the public by mistake. The East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, which runs Lister Hospital, is investigating how the highly private and confidenti

AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after a hospital patient's pathology results were faxed to a member of the public by mistake.

The East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, which runs Lister Hospital, is investigating how the highly private and confidential information, which included the patient's name and address as well as the results, was sent to a member of the public instead of being faxed to a GP surgery.

A spokesman for the Trust said: "The Trust always treats incidents involving data loss or breach of confidentiality very seriously.

"While it is extremely difficult to cut out all incidents of human error in an organisation of this size, we consider any such case to be unacceptable."

The Information Commissioner's office has been informed of this serious confidentiality breach.

The Trust's spokesman said this is the first serious untoward incident relating to data loss or confidentiality breach on the Trust's records, which date back to 2002.

He added: "Immediately following the incident, the patient in question was informed of the error and a letter of apology was sent out. An investigation was also launched.

"To date, the patient has been satisfied with the way the Trust has handled the incident and accepts it was down to a rare case of human error.

"A review is currently under way looking at procedures for faxing information out of the Trust and for maintaining up-to-date contact information for GP surgeries and health centres."

The Trust has also launched a new patient administration system which it claims will ensure all GP information is current.

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