UK: Landlord's shock as mental health records are found in attic

Concerns over patient confidentiality have been raised by a Hakin landlord who found stacks of medical records stashed away in his attic.

Peter Eaton said he was shocked to find five bin bags-full of mental health records hidden between the joists and under the fibreglass of his attic when he was renovating his property in Haven Drive in February.

Mr Eaton said: “There were diaries, records and personal letters from patients to their doctor in those files. I was quite concerned about it so I rang the health board the same day.”

After launching an investigation into the potential Data Protection Act breach, Hywel Dda Health Board concluded that the records were in the care of a previous tenant, who was a former NHS employee.

But the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) decided that no further action would be taken against the health board because of the longevity of the incident, which dated back to 2005.

A spokesman for the ICO said: “Because the data controller at the time of the incident, the Pembrokeshire and Derwen NHS Trust, is no longer in existence we do not consider it proportionate to hold the Hywel Dda Health Board accountable for an incident of this age.


“The Health Board also informed the police. Based on this, and on clinical advice, the health board has not informed any specific individuals as it was not deemed in their best interests.”

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