Doctor accidentally donates over 40 patients’ confidential medical files to charity shop

Doctor accidentally donates over 40 patients’ confidential medical files to charity shop

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Dozens of highly sensitive medical files were accidentally donated by doctor to staff at a charity shop in Essex.

More than 40 patients were affected by the breach when a GP took the confidential documents home before donating them to a hospice in Colchester, Essex.

Although staff members at the hospice quickly realised what the records were and handed them back to the practice, three members of staff had read the documents.

All three members of hospice staff signed confidentiality agreements not to discuss the contents and patients were informed of the incident.

Patient Jodie Keating, 35, was affected by the breach after she was referred to a GP for ADHD.

Ms Keating said she has since "lost faith" in the Mersea Island Medical Practice.

"Nothing got done about it. It's really bad,” she said.

"I got a letter through the post saying that my medical records had been donated to St Helena's Hospice.

"They said only three people had seen them but you don't know whether it was only three.

"They just said sorry for the inconvenience. It was a shock. You don’t want people seeing your medical records."


'I didn't even know they could take our records home' 

The breach of confidentiality happened in 2017 but patients have now come forward to complain about the surgery's service.

Following their return, the documents were examined by the practice to ensure none were missing.

Mersea Practice apologised to patients and referred the incident to the Information Commissioner and NHS England, who were satisfied that the documents were secure.

Ms Keating said the GP who took the documents home with her no longer works at the surgery but could not confirm whether this was because of the incident.

She added: "I didn't even know they could take our medical records home with them."

Mersea Island Medical Practice has been approached for a comment.