Mother wants probe into mental health files left in vacant house

There have been calls for an independent inquiry into how the mental health files of children and adolescents came to be found in a vacant house last week.

The mother of one of the teenagers whose confidential medical notes were discovered in a house at Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, told the Irish Examiner she had been informed that the HSE was due to hold a meeting yesterday to discuss furthering its own internal investigation.

The probe was officially launched last Friday after the discovery of the files was reported to gardaí and the files later handed over to the HSE.

The woman says that she believes someone from outside of the executive needs to be brought in to conduct a thorough investigation into how the files came to be left in a vacant house.

“I met with a HSE manager and I asked would someone from outside of the HSE be brought in to investigate this,” said the mother, who wishes to remain anonymous.

“I’m pushing for this. They need to get someone that is completely independent of the HSE, with perhaps a legal background and not just a retired health board official.

“I wouldn’t be happy with the HSE investigating itself. This cannot be hushed up and shoved under the carpet.”

The mother contacted the Office of the Data Commissioner by email after received a phone call from a service manager last Friday informing her of the breach.

The official recommended that the mother direct any concerns she had about the incident to the HSE directly.

It is believed that details relating to some 60 patients were leaked in the incident.

This woman’s 18-year-old son is a patient of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Wexford.

A letter from the team responsible for his care to his GP was among the files discovered in the house.

During an informal meeting at St Senan’s Hospital yesterday, the woman was shown a copy of the letter relating to her son’s case.

“It had his name, his date of birth, his address, details of his condition, and details of the medication that he was on because of his condition written down on it,” she said.

She added that her main concern is how many people read the document while it was left unattended in the house.

“It wasn’t in typical medical language. Any ordinary lay person like myself could understand it all perfectly,” said the woman. “Something like this could seriously set a patient’s treatment back.”

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