News

NSW Health in full spin after dumping doctor files in bin

The Minister for Health Brad Hazzard and Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant addressing the media this morning.
The Minister for Health Brad Hazzard and Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant addressing the media this morning.

A MASSIVE privacy bungle is plaguing NSW Health this morning after revelations more than 700 letters containing confidential patient information were dumped in a residential bin.

The outpatient letters were to be sent between GPs and public hospitals and private medical centres.

But a woman subcontracted by a private company employed by NSW Health to send the letters dumped them in a communal bin at a residential apartment block in Ashfield.

She had them at her home to post them but dumped them in a bin instead.

The letters related to 768 public patients as well as over 700 letters referring to private patients.

Some letters were duplicates.

The letters were dated in December and to be sent out in January.

The letters were found by a resident of the apartments on April 11 and reported to police.

NSW Health began investigating last week.

The letters were linked to public hospitals in Royal North Shore, Gosford and Dubbo as well as six private facilities.

The woman who dumped the letters was suffering health problems.

The matter has been referred for an external review.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said an investigation had not found any patient had been harmed by the letter bungle but there was the "possibility" of treatment being delayed.

"I've direct the department to do a full independent review...I want to be satisfied we are doing everything to reduce human error," he said.

Opposition Health spokesman Walt Secord has labelled the privacy breach "sloppy and dangerous".

He called for the external review, which is to be conducted by KPMG, to be widened to include private health facilties.

"Medical records are deeply personal. They contain private information about your medical history that you would share with very few people," he said.

"It is absolutely frightening that private medical records were left in rubbish bins in an Ashfield apartment block. This just should not happen."

The transcription service responsible for the bungle, Global Transcription Services, has stopped working with NSW Health.

The company was unable to provide an audit of their letters to confirm all had been sent and recorded.

The letters referred to Royal North Shore Outpatient Clinics, Gosford Hospital Outpatients and Cancer Centre, and Dubbo Hospital Cancer Centre.

The private clinics caught in the bungle include Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, Northern Cancer Institute, Sharp Neurology, Southside Cancer Care Centre, Strathfield Retina Clinic and The Woolcock Institute.

In Dubbo, eight patients had to be followed up to arrange appointments.

"This is clearly unacceptable, it is unacceptable there is delays in communication," Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said.

News Corp Australia

Topics:  editors picks health nsw health


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Fresh from the hydro hut to you

Rob and Narelle Andrews at their Burringbar farm.

Straight from the farm to the Gourmet Salad Hut.

Northern Rivers police numbers 'over strength'

THE BEAT GOES ON: Police numbers in the Richmond Local Area Command will remain stable after no new officers were assigned to the region.

No new cops for Northern Rivers beats

New music from Bernard Fanning isn't a pity

A still from the music video for Isn't It a Pity, Bernard Fanning's first single from the album Brutal Dawn, directed by Lucy Dyson.

The video clip of his new song is visually arresting

Local Partners

Water-wise way to grow gourmet greens

ALWAYS piled high with lush-looking fresh and healthy leafy greens, The Gourmet Salad Hut is one of the most popular stalls at the local farmers markets.

Toowoomba woman's Africa trip to share song

HERE TO HELP: Women in Harmony music director Elaine Coates (right) will travel to Uganda later this year to work with the African Children's Choir. Former members of the choir travelled to Toowoomba to perform last year incuding Elizabeth Panga (left) and tour manager Abraham Kiyingi.

A Toowoomba woman is preparing for a trip of a lifetime

Hundreds of cars going for bargain at record Coast auction

Mike Clayton at the Nambour car yard in the lead-up to a previous year's sale.

Impounded cars going under the hammer, no reserves

Sam Thaiday stars in Broncos’ carpool karaoke

SAM Thaiday has stunned with his karaoke rendition of Celine Dion.

What's on the small screen this week

My Kitchen Rule's mother and daughter contestants Valerie and Courtney.

MY KITCHEN Rules grand finalists face off and Love Child returns.

New music from Bernard Fanning isn't a pity

A still from the music video for Isn't It a Pity, Bernard Fanning's first single from the album Brutal Dawn, directed by Lucy Dyson.

The video clip of his new song is visually arresting

Anthony LaPaglia steps out with new fiancee

Anthony LaPaglia.

Actor Anthony LaPaglia engaged to much younger girlfiend

Ronan Keating a dad for fourth time

Ronan Keating and Storm Keating.

Bouncing baby boy for Boyzone star

Lion King remake well under way

Seth Rogen.

More Lion King remake cast members revealed

Affordable rentals out of reach for North Coast residents

Rental affordability hits new crisis levels

Falling rents could spell doom for housing prices

What if I told you housing in Australia was getting cheaper?

Couple gets rich renovating run-down city homes

RENO RADICALS: Baden and Nelson Marino-Hall have turned three Toowoomba homes around for profit, saying the Garden City was a haven for renovators like themselves.

The couple has already turned around three homes

Townhouse pitch raises questions over 'high density'

BIG PLANS: Residents have a chance to offer their opinion on plans to build 42 townhouses at Raceview.

Developer plans 42 townhouses for Ipswich suburb

7 million dollar city homes for sale right now

3 Keira Court, Blue Mountain Heights.

Here are seven of Toowoomba's best, and most expensive, houses

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!