The continuing saga of the dumping of HSE medical records belonging to patients in the Midlands Regional Hospital, Mullingar, St. Joseph’s Hospital Ballina and Roscommon County Hospital will inevitably lead to claims for damages for breach of confidentiality, a Solicitor has claimed today.
“The discovery over the last number of months of hundreds of private patient medical records in litter bins, graveyards and in a bog will inevitably lead to legal claims against the HSE for breach of privacy and confidentiality” said Liam Moloney, a Naas based Healthcare Solicitor.
The Data Protection Act 1988 imposes a statutory duty of care on data controllers and data processors in the collection of personal data and their dealings with that data and the law affords protection against the misuse of confidential information. The Act obliges Data Controllers to take appropriate measures to protect the security of such data.
“Patients’ private details of ongoing treatments and illnesses being disclosed to other parties through the HSE’s negligence in their disposal is completely unacceptable” continued Mr Moloney. “Confidentiality is a time honoured principle of medical ethics. It is fundamental to the hospital/ patient relationship. The hospital authorities have a Duty of Care to ensure that all medical records are disposed of carefully”.
“Procedures must be in place to ensure that destruction of records are properly supervised. If it’s delegated to an outside agency appropriate controls must be in place. The HSE will be found liable in cases where they have acted recklessly in not ensuring the records are disposed of carefully without disclosure”.
He added “many hundreds of patients undergoing continuing treatment will have suffered considerable anxiety and distress over the disclosure of their confidential medical files. The HSE should immediately tell all affected patients and review, as matter of urgency, their document disposal systems”.
For further information contact Liam Moloney, Solicitor at:
Tel: 045 898000
Mobile: 087 2726759