A MALVERN woman has criticised the organisation running mental health services in Worcestershire after she was sent a letter containing sensitive information about another patient.
When care assistant Victoria Seymour received a letter from Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust recently, she was shocked to find another letter inside addressed to a woman who she does not know containing details including her address, patient number and a range of other personal information.
The trust runs a number of nonemergency services across the county such as mental health and community hospitals and the letter – which was addressed to a woman living in Bredon – was written by the IAPT programme, which treats patients with depression.
Miss Seymour of Cowleigh Road, Malvern, said she was concerned another patient’s sensitive data had fallen into the wrong hands.
“It says something about a telephone triage appointment,” she said. “It’s a bit worrying considering they said my information would be kept secret.
“I don’t know this person but I’ve got all their personal details.”
The NHS has a legal duty under the Data Protection Act 1998 to keep patient information secure while the Human Rights Act 1998 states everyone has the right to respect for their private lives – including health records.
A spokesperson for Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust said: “Early investigations reveal that this was an administrative error.
“All administrative staff have been made aware and reminded of the process about handling information and outgoing letters.
“Last year the IAPT service processed around 9,500 referrals and it is extremely rare for this sort of thing to happen, however we have taken action to mitigate the risk of future mistakes.
“We have also contacted the patient affected to apologise.”
Patients can request to view their own records by asking their GP or applying in writing to the appropriate organisation.
For more information on your rights around health records, visit nhs.uk.