A Thurso man claims he’s been sent personal details of other NHS Highland patients… for the third time this year.
After requesting access to his medical records, Peter Todd was shocked to find information about other people jotted down inside.
Handwritten notes containing surnames, dates of birth and information about patient consultations were said to have been found.
Peter told us the details were scribbled on NHS Highland headed paper, with one note apparently relating to a woman in her 90s.
It’s the third time Peter, of Thurso, has lodged a complaint with the health board over alleged data breaches since March – all relating to the same set of files.
He initially requested access to his medical records in February, but also received a document in the post containing information relating to another patient.
NHS Highland later apologised for the “administrative error” – but similar mistakes appear to have been made again.
“Clearly the organisation’s data protection procedures need a complete overhaul,” he said.
“There are procedures in place for when you make medical access requests, but the procedures yet again weren’t followed.
“They shouldn’t be giving out confidential information to every Tom, Dick and Harry.”
Patient details emailed over in response to data breach query
Back in March, Peter returned the NHS file and was left unhappy the documents were not in the right order.
He emailed the health board asking for an update on the investigation, and says the reply included attachments detailing seven complaints made by other patients.
He said it would not be difficult to identify the GP at the centre of these complaints because they related to a rural area in the Highlands.
The latest alleged breach happened when his records were returned to him earlier this month.
And he’s described it as an “astonishing chain of events”.
‘NHS Highland is living in the Stone Age’
“There’s a document where a locum psychiatrist has clearly been doodling and writing on NHS Highland letter-headed paper,” Peter added.
“There are six individuals’ names, their dates of births and what medication they are on.
“I would like their files checked to make sure none of my documents have gone into their files.
“They also need to inform the six other patients. And I really hope that when the management informs the woman in her 90s that her data has been breached that they treat her more sensitively than they treat me.”
He added: “It is absolutely outrageous.
“None of this would have happened if medical documents were put online before now, it shows that NHS Highland is living in the Stone Age.”
A spokesman for the health board said: “We are aware of this incident, and we are investigating this as a matter of urgency.”