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Hospital gives sensitive pregnancy discharge pack to wrong woman

Before they leave hospital, new mothers are given a set of postnatal notes, with information about their labour, delivery and postnatal care in hospital.

In a recent case, we saw the impact of what can happen when this personal pregnancy discharge pack was given to the wrong person by mistake.

What happened in this case?

Following the birth of her son, a woman was contacted on Facebook by a woman who knew her name, address and other personal information. Due to the personal information disclosed via the message she thought she was being contacted by her estranged mother and sister. This caused her considerable upset.

However, it eventually became clear that she was being contacted by a stranger who had been given her pregnancy discharge pack and the personal details of her son by mistake. This happened despite the fact that the other woman had attended a completely different hospital in a different town from her.

As a result of this data breach, the woman suffered stress, anxiety and trauma, which resulted in her needing medication from her GP. She has also suffered from ongoing flashbacks of family problems.

Lessons learned

The healthcare sector handles some of our most sensitive personal data, and, as patients, we have the right to expect this will be looked after. However, all too often this isn't the case.

Hospitals and other healthcare organisations need to do more to protect sensitive patient data. It is vital that there are adequate and robust protections in place to secure patient information and that healthcare staff have the knowledge and ability to handle such data securely.

Not just hackers

At Hayes Connor, we want to reduce the number of data violations taking place across the UK. To do this, we are sharing such real-life examples of data breaches to raise awareness of this issue and educate people to prevent similar mistakes from happening.

For more advice on how to keep your data safe, follow our #notjusthackers campaign on Twitter and Facebook.

Alternatively, if you have been the victim of a data breach or cyber fraud, find out how we can help you to recover any losses or give us a call on 0151 363 5895 to discuss your case in more depth.