Swansea Bay University Health Board being investigated by Information Commissioner’s Office after children’s medical records ‘accidentally leaked’

alex brown

Sensitive and personal medical information about children was accidentally released by Swansea Bay University Health Board. The release included “graphic” details about a home birth and is now being looked at by the information watchdog. The health board emailed the data to a dad requesting information about his own child […]

Sensitive and personal medical information about children was accidentally released by Swansea Bay University Health Board.

The release included “graphic” details about a home birth and is now being looked at by the information watchdog.

The health board emailed the data to a dad requesting information about his own child and was left horrified when he realised what had happened.

On June 1, dad Robert Channon asked the health board to provide information relating to his son’s care.

The parents made a “Subject Access Request” to access internal emails relating to his treatment.

But when the data was released to the family on August 12, it included personal and sensitive information about other patients who have been looked after by the trust.

One example was related to a home birth which went wrong and resulted in a serious investigation. The information included the names of the parents, the name of the child and the dates it took place.

Dad-of-two Rob said: “My son was born in very traumatic circumstances himself at the trust. It’s just horrifying really. I wouldn’t want his details being emailed to anyone else.”

The release included thousands of pages of documents.

Rob, 33, of Ty Coch, said: “There was three other patients that we’ve found so far. We’ve not been through all the files by any stretch because there are thousands and thousands of pages.

“The most serious one is an incident report involving a child who was born at home and it went really wrong or something, and it had the parents names, the child name, the date it happened and some of the details of it.”

He said all three incidents were related to children, and included their names and their parent’s names.

Rob then alerted the health board to the breach. He said it appeared the health board didn’t check the documents before sending them.

He added: “They didn’t redact anything, it just seems they dumped everything out of their system and emailed it straight to us.

Rob initially submitted the request over concerns for their son’s care and delays in receiving help at home.

He said that his son has a “continuing care package” and was authorised to have two nights a week where health worker would come to their home.

He said that was approved in August 2019 – but no care was provided until April this year, eight months later.

A health board spokesman said: “As soon as we became aware of this matter we reported it to the Information Commissioner’s Office, in line with established procedure.

“The ICO will now decide on the next steps.

“In the meantime the health board has also begun an internal investigation to identify any immediate measures to prevent this happening again.

“We can also confirm we have received a complaint in relation to the Subject Access Request. As this complaint is being investigated, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

An ICO spokeswoman said: ”People’s personal medical data should be handled with extra care in line with the law, if it is not handled properly this can cause significant distress.

“We have received a report of an incident from Swansea Bay University Health Board and we will be assessing the information provided.”

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