Waste Company is Sacked by Hospital

Posted: April 17, 2009

This article was published in This is Lancashire
By: Cherry Thomas

THE Royal Bolton Hospital has sacked the company which lost confidential details belonging to 1,300 patients earlier this year.

Hospital chiefs had to send out a letter of apology after the information was found in a street near the grounds in January.

An investigation was launched and now waste management firm Severnside, which was the independent contractor responsible for taking confidential waste for pulping, is no longer used by the hospital.

The hospital said it made changes following a thorough review in light of the incident.
A new company, Shred-it, is now being used, which shreds confidential waste on site and provides secure bins staff can use.

Beverley Andrew, director of corporate services, said the hospital took patient confidentiality very seriously. She said: "We are very sorry about what happened and have taken the opportunity to review our processes. "We believe we have greatly reduced the risk by starting to shred on site.  "We have also reminded our staff about the importance of keeping all patient information secure and confidential.  The hospital wrote to all the patients affected at the time of the incident and will be writing again to those who requested further information.

The documents had fallen from a waste container being used by Severnside. Most of the lost documents contained names and addresses and details of conditions and treatments.

The information related to around 850 people who had recently been seen in the accident and emergency department and there were also 450 patient address labels from various departments. The paperwork, which was being disposed of because it contained information already scanned into computers for storage or no longer needed, was quickly recovered by staff.

Severnside declined to comment.

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