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Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019
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'No effort made to conceal' bag found on Co Galway bog containing hospital records

The HSE has launched an investigation into the discovery of the documents yesterday.

Sligo General Hospital.
Sligo General Hospital.
Image: Google Maps

AN INVESTIGATION has been launched into the discovery of medical documents in an area of bogland in Co Galway which appear to have originated at Sligo General Hospital.

The HSE says it was notified of the discovery yesterday. Staff from the Sligo hospital examined the papers and say that they contain “general stationery and clinical documentation”.

A spokeswoman for the HSE said the incident is being investigated internally.

Galway County Councillor Peter Roche of Tuam told TheJournal.ie that he spoke to the person that found the documents and they said they were able to identify individual patient names and addresses from the paperwork, despite apparent efforts to shred it.

The warden also said that the material was marked as coming from Sligo General Hospital.

Roche said that a community warden was carrying out routine checks in an bog area near Abbeyknockmoy which was previously the site of illegal dumping. The bag containing the documents “was just left literally on the roadside, no effort was made to conceal it,” he said.

The Data Protection Commissioner’s office confirmed this evening that it had been notified of the discovery. The HSE says that the DPC told the HSE that it could not find evidence of a ‘meaningful disclosure of personal identifiable information’ and will not be investigating the incident further.

This is not the first time this month that hospital documentation has been found improperly disposed of. Just two weeks ago, the HSE and the Data Protection Commissioner launched separate investigations after dozens of private medical records were found in a bin at Roscommon County Hospital.

More recently, patient records from Ballina District Hospital were discovered in a bin in a Ballina estate by a litter warden.

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