The Cathaoirleach of the Castlebar Municipal District has called for an enquiry, after confidential medical records from a number of patients who attended Mayo University Hospital were found dumped in a local housing estate.
Hospital management have apologised in writing to a number of former patients, recently discharged from the hospital, whose personal details were found in a refuse sack at the housing estate in Castlebar.
Refuse staff attached to Mayo County Council made the disturbing find earlier this month, and the council alerted hospital management.
Management at Mayo University Hospital has now written to the patients informing them of the breach of data protection,and apologising for the breach of confidentiality.
The letter of apology contained an assurance that Mayo University Hospital treats such matters with 'the utmost seriousness' and said corrective measures have been put in place to prevent such an incident from happening again.
Hospital management says the matter has been reported to the HSE Consumer Affairs Department and the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner.
Castlebar-based Independent Councillor Michael Kilcoyne says he's shocked to hear that sensitive medical data could end up in a refuse bag in a housing estate about a mile from the hospital, and has called for an enquiry into what happened, and who was responsible.
He says that, over the years, there have been a number of data breaches relating to the HSE West region, and is calling for an enquiry into what happened and who was responsible.