Health service apologises over document bungle

By Ashlee Betteridge

South Sydney Area Health Service has publically apologised to patients, families, staff and the community after confidential documents were left outside Rozelle Hospital. The Village Voice visited the grounds of Rozelle Hospital on May 5, nearly a week after it was closed on April 30, and found 12 unsecured waste paper bins full of highly confidential documents outside the hospital’s former administration block. The bins contained patient discharge records with full psychiatric and health care details, ECG results and names and addresses. The Village Voice also found hundreds of staff records dumped behind hospital buildings in garbage bags. The documents, outlining staff histories, pay records and reasons for dismissal, were freely accessible and just metres away from busy paths frequented by dog walkers and joggers.

Documents were dated from the early 1980s to April this year and revealed confidential treatment and medical histories of both patients and hospital staff. A SSWAHS spokesman said that the area health service had investigated the matter and identified ways to prevent a repeat of the incident. “Once alerted to the situation, immediate steps were put in place to secure all identified documents,” the spokesman said. “All the relevant documents are now secured for appropriate management,” he said. “This occurred due to human error under unusual and exceptional circumstances of the hospital relocation after 130 years.”
The 12 unsecured waste paper bins filled with highly confidential documents (right), including detailed patient records, were left outside Rozelle Hospital nearly a week after the hospital close on April 30.

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