Medical notes on 10 patients who were being treated at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, county Louth, have been found in a housing estate.
The apparent data breach was brought to the attention of Drogheda Senator Ged Nash who has called for an urgent investigation.
The information found referenced 10 patients, male and female, and they ranged in age from 36 to 90.
The details also indicate they were all patients on a particular ward in the hospital last month (April).
The 5 sheets of paper with the list of their personal information on were found in the front garden of a housing estate that is about a 10 minute walk from the hospital.
Their dates of birth, family situations and medical conditions and treatments were all detailed on the sheets which appeared to be information to be passed from one medical professional to another.
The woman who found the sheets of paper was in contact with Senator Nash who advised her to contact the hospital and arranged to have the information returned to the hospital.
Senator Nash said, ‘This is completely unacceptable and hospital management must report this egregious compromising of private and deeply sensitive personal information to the Data Protection Commissioner.’
‘Some very elderly and vulnerable patients have had the most personal and confidential information imaginable about their health situation strewn in a suburban housing estate for all to see.’
He said the patients concerned ‘should all be contacted without delay to advise them of this breach.’