Highly sensitive medical files relating to adolescent patients of mental health services have been found in a vacant house in Co Wexford.
A mother of one of the patients whose details were leaked in the incident has described it as “absolutely devastating”.
Her 18-year-old son is a patient of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
She received a call from the CAMHS manager for the Wexford and Waterford region informing her that a letter from the team responsible for her son’s care to his GP was among some of the documents discovered at a house in The Moyne, Enniscorthy, on Wednesday evening.
It is believed that the medical files were found by a couple who went to view the property to rent. Gardaí were called to the scene and recovered the documents.
The woman said: “I’ve been told that they can’t answer any of my questions about how his file came to be there because they don’t have any answers right now, but they are sending me a letter tomorrow about it. I presume that I will get that on Monday.
“It’s really worrying. I’m devastated. No one else should have been able to read that information,” she added.
After being contacted by the HSE official, the boy’s mother called Enniscorthy Garda Station and was told that it was a matter civil matter and that the gardaí could not comment on the case.
“I just want to know how any staff member was allowed to take those files home. They should be kept under lock and key at the hospital.”
The incident has been reported to the Data Protection Commissioner’s office.
In a statement, a HSE spokesperson said: “The HSE can confirm that it was contacted by a member of the public, alleging that confidential documentation relating to clients of its services had been located in a house in the Wexford area.
“All such documentation is now in the possession of the HSE. The HSE is taking this matter extremely seriously and has initiated an investigation.
“The HSE will be co-operating with the Data Protection Commissioner’s office as to any follow up actions that need to be taken.”
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