NZ: MidCentral District Health Board's privacy breaches cause for serious concern

Talia Shadwell reports:

A Palmerston North woman is accusing MidCentral District Health Board staff of a privacy breach, after she was mailed another mental health client’s file along with her own records.

The health board is investigating Zelda McConachy’s claims that she has repeatedly received other mental health services clients’ confidential files mixed up with her own records during the past two decades.


Along with her own records, she was sent two pages from another patient’s file with details including his name, age, address, phone number, medication type and notes on his behavioural issues.


“This happens every time I request my records. I have got somebody else’s each time and when it happens they just tell me to destroy them, but I get worried about who has my files.”

Read more on Stuff.

This sounds pretty inexcusable, and it gets worse. In a related story today, Shadwell reports:

MidCentral District Health Board is grappling with two separate data breaches after 133 parents were sent letters containing personal details of other people’s children.


The dental records breach came to light after a parent informed MidCentral that they had received a double-sided letter from the Child and Adolescent Oral Health service containing information about their own child on one side, and another child’s details on the other.

The letters sent to parents confirm enrolment in the dental service and contain their names and addresses, children’s names and national health index numbers.

All 133 letters were sent out with incorrect information, with half of the recipients receiving somebody else’s details, and the other half receiving no information at all, MidCentral’s director for patient safety and clinical effectiveness, Muriel Hancock said.

Read more on Stuff.

Seriously – if the government or regulators don’t deal with this, the public should be up in arms.

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