Private firm sent genital test results to wrong patient
Apology over mistake blamed on 'human error'
27 May, 2021 — By Bronwen Weatherby
A patient’s confidential details were sent out to the wrong address
A PRIVATE healthcare company has apologised after mistakenly sending an email containing the medical results of a man who had undergone tests on his genitals to a female patient.
InHealth, which provides a range of services on a referral basis to hundreds of GPs and hospitals across England, have blamed “human error” and said it had reissued staff with guidelines about handling sensitive data.
But the woman who was incorrectly sent the “scrotum report”, Nikki Martin from Belsize Park, said she has been left “extremely concerned” following the incident.
The 40-year-old, who has recently undergone tests of a personal nature herself, said she has since become worried her results had also been sent to the wrong person.
Ms Martin said: “I’m still pretty shocked that something so personal could be sent to someone random by mistake. When I clicked on the attachment I quickly realised it wasn’t for me – I’m not a guy and don’t have a scrotum or testes. My first thought was, this poor guy.
“I got in touch with InHealth straight away to alert them about what they had done and so the results could be sent to the right person. They ended up getting back to me six days later asking me to delete the report from my inbox. It’s pretty unacceptable I think.”
She added: “I was concerned about the man’s privacy but I also began to worry my results had also been sent on to a stranger. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, but the question on my mind is whether this is part of a wider problem of not protecting the privacy of patients.”
North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group uses the company for routine diagnostic services, such as X-ray imaging, ECGs, ultrasounds and blood-pressure monitoring. Patients living in Camden can be referred directly by their GPs.
It operates in the Royal Free Hospital, Kentish Town Health Centre and University College Hospital. Across the country, it operates in over 200 hospitals and over 100 community based medical centres, GP surgeries and health clinics.
In a statement, InHealth said: “We would like to apologise that on this occasion, as a result of human error, patient information has been incorrectly shared.
“As a result of this incident, we have reissued our data handling policies and reinforced the importance of managing sensitive data with the necessary caution to our staff.”
It added: “All staff involved in the booking of patient appointments and liaising with referrers in relation to patient information, have been notified of the policies and procedures that they must follow at all times, to prevent further incidents of this type from taking place.”
The company said it had also contacted the patient “whose details were incorrectly shared”.