NZ: Patient files stolen from staffer's car

Stacey Kirk reports:

Confidential patient files have been stolen from a MidCentral District Health Board staff member’s car and the board is calling for the documents to be returned.

The car was broken into on Pascal St, Palmerston North, some distance from Palmerston North Hospital, but MidCentral spokesman Dennis Geddis said it was “common procedure” for medical staff to take files away with them.

“People are travelling all the time so they’re likely to have files on them from time to time.”

Mr Geddis could not comment on the content of the files or whether the information was still obtainable electronically, but simply said “we want them back”.

Privacy Commission legal and public affairs adviser Annabel Fordham said the Health Information Privacy Code set out regulations on the handling of sensitive patient information, but was not in a position to comment on this incident in case an official complaint was laid.


Mr Geddis said the car was broken into between 6pm and 8pm last Thursday and the files were in a grey satchel with a logo on the side that resembled a laptop case.

The break-in was reported to police, who said a complaint was laid at the watch-house the following day and the incident had been filed so no further investigation was being carried out.

Mr Geddis said he was not sure what procedures were in place to govern the handling of sensitive information.

Read more in the Manawatu Standard.

A spokesperson for MidCentral District Health Board can’t speak to/address what procedures are in place? How about a hospital spokesperson, then?

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