20 Jul 2012

Health records found on street

7:41 am on 20 July 2012

An investigation has been launched after more than 100 patient documents and health records were found on a Christchurch street.

Healthcare New Zealand says a staff member's private car was broken into and the documents and other property removed. The papers were found on a suburban street by a member of the public.

The records from the community-based health and disability support provider included contact details of mainly elderly patients, as well as information such as medical dosages, prescriptions and notes from medical staff on how to access some properties.

Healthcare New Zealand general manger of community services Scott Arrol says the company is working to understand whether document security policies were followed, and what needs to be done to stop something similar happening again.

Mr Arrol says almost all the clients whose information was in the stolen documents have been contacted, and the theft has been reported to the police.

Privacy law specialist Jonathan Forsey says standard codes of practice for storing and transferring documents are set out in the health information privacy code. He believes those protocols have been breached.

Mr Forsey says it is unusual for medical information to be transferred in a private staff car.