Patients’ private health records “not compromised” after boxes of them left lying in ARI corridor for a week

Health chiefs have insisted patients’ private health records were “not compromised” after boxes of them were left lying in a hospital corridor for a week.

A shocked member of the public spotted at least six boxes of documents, including patients’ notes, sitting in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI) and photographed them.

The documents were first spotted on January 29, near the staff gym, in an area of the hospital that is accessible from the main entrance.

Some of the boxes were open and marked health records, with envelopes of notes from various wards clearly seen.

The same person returned a week later and saw the boxes were still there.

He said: “This is a serious breach of data protection. Patients’ medical notes were left out in a corridor that can easily be accessed by the public by stairs and a lift.

“There was an open box with notes on full view.”

After the image was shown to NHS Grampian the boxes were immediately removed from the corridor and an investigation was launched.

The health authority yesterday said it was “extremely disappointed” in the data breach and vowed to get to the bottom of how it happened.

A spokeswoman for NHS Grampian added: “The records had been placed in the corridor for collection which clearly did not take place.

“All staff involved have been reminded of the importance of prompt collection, following up non-collections and maintaining the security of patient records.

“Our patients have the right to expect their records will be stored safely. We are confident that the records involved were not compromised.”

On Monday, NHS Grampian revealed hundreds of thousands of patient records will be moved to a secure location at ARI later this month. The exact location was not disclosed, however, to minimise the chances of a data breach.