Mental health patient photo ‘accidentally’ posted on Facebook

Galway City Tribune – Patient records were found in a local premises near University Hospital Galway last year, while a staff member in the mental health service accidentally posted a photo of a client on Facebook.

These were among 82 data protection breaches reported by Saolta Hospital Group and regional services between January 2018 and May 2019, internal documents have revealed.

In July 2018, a patient’s CT scan was accidentally included in records released by UHG to an unrelated third party in response to a Freedom of Information request.

Last February, a patient complained that correspondence sent by UHG had included a return address on the envelope, which identified the particular service that they were attending.

The breaches have been described as “serious incidents” by a patient advocacy group, which criticised the “careless custody” of individuals’ private medical records by the HSE.

Other data protection breaches included the loss of an encrypted USB stick, which contained a video recording of a parenting group in March 2018. Two letters containing “personal and sensitive” data were also opened during a break-in at the hospital in the same month.
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