Queensland Health is investigating how a large parcel of patients’ medical documents, earmarked for destruction, were lost on a busy Brisbane road.
- The Opposition said the Government tried to cover up the breach
- The documents, which included names of outpatients, had been due for destruction
- Authorities will “contact affected parties if required”
A staff member came across the files last Thursday on Abbotsford Road in Bowen Hills, kilometres away from their home at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH).
They had been picked up at the hospital in Herston by a contractor and were to be taken to a destruction facility.
Hospital executive director David Rosengren would not say how many documents were mishandled, but said once it was realised, they were secured immediately.
The files were from a variety of outpatient clinics and included patients’ names.
“We did a very detailed review of the location and collected all of the information and collaborated well with a couple of businesses around to ensure there were no remaining documents left in the public arena,” he said.
“We have absolute confidence that there is no further documents in the public arena and we have provided information for the public to contact the hospital to seek reassurance.
“These are pieces of paper that contain information, some of which had patient details included on those pieces of paper.
“There were no medical records in their entirety involved in this incident.
“Some of it was letters, some of it was referrals for appointments and other documents that were earmarked for destruction and disposal.
“It’s a common process in a healthcare environment to have a secure document destruction process.”
A spokeswoman for Metro North Hospital and Health Service said the private contractor and RBWH are both reviewing their processes.
“We are working closely with the contractor to investigate how these documents were unsecured and dislodged near the hospital,” she said.
“We are examining the documents to ascertain the level of confidential information they contain.
“We will contact affected parties if required.”
LNP leader Deb Frecklington said it was a major breach of trust.
“The fact that Labor have tried to cover this up for almost a week and didn’t come clean about losing these sensitive medical records is simply not good enough,” she said.
“Patients should have been contacted as a first priority but instead all Labor have done is try to cover up this major fail.”