NZ: Abortion data leaked by mistake (Updated with Lakes DHB statement)

A horrific breach in response to a FOIA/media request. Collette Devlin reports:

A privacy breach blunder has resulted in personal details of more than 600 females, some as young as 13, who had abortions in the central North Island being given to a Stuff reporter.

The data was mistakenly released by a junior staff member at the Lakes District Health Board who was assisting on an official information request made by the newspaper.

The personal medical information from 2011-13 confirms the terminations took place in Tokoroa Hospital, Thames Hospital, Waikato Hospital and Anglesea Procedure Centre.

Read more on Stuff.

Human error, I know, but gawd….

Update: Here is Lakes DHB’s statement about the incident:

Lakes DHB chief executive Ron Dunham says it is deeply disappointing that an excel document containing coded patient information has been released to a member of the media.

The data was mistakenly released by a junior staff member who was assisting on an Official Information Request. The staff member did not follow standard process.

The coded data includes the National Health Index (NHI) number, date of birth and ethnicity of 625 women who have used the DHB’s termination of pregnancy service.

“Although the women cannot be identified by the coded information released we are taking the situation seriously. A dedicated helpline has been established, anyone with concerns can call 0800 525 371,” says Mr Dunham.

“The DHB is working closely with the Ministry of Health and the Privacy Commissioner.

“I understand the concern this will cause for the affected women and I apologise for this.”

A full review will be carried out by Lakes DHB supported by the Ministry of Health.

About the author: Dissent