Patient records destroyed after data breach at former care home

Pine Heath nursing home in High Kelling, which contained boxes of unsecured patient records

Pine Heath nursing home in High Kelling, contained boxes of unsecured patient records and files which were easily accessible - Credit: Archant

Piles of private documents including patient records which were left laying around an unlocked, abandoned care home have now been destroyed. 

And the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has finished an investigation into the breach of data at Pine Heath care home in High Kelling, near Holt, after the documents were found by a reporter from this newspaper in June. 

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council confirmed the authority has since been onto the site to collect the documents, and they have since been destroyed "in line with data protection protocols".

The council said it took the unusual step of destroying the records because the care home provider, Diamond Care (UK) Ltd, has itself now shut down, so was not in a position to do so itself.

Pine Heath nursing home in High Kelling, which contained boxes of patient records, staff notes and s

The now deserted Pine Heath nursing home in High Kelling. - Credit: Archant

The care home closed suddenly in May 2017 after it was placed in special measures following an inadequate rating in a damning report by the Care Quality Commission.

The ICO launched its investigation after the data breach was exposed.

Pine Heath nursing home in High Kelling, which contained boxes of patient records, staff notes and s

Pine Heath nursing home in High Kelling. - Credit: Archant

An ICO spokesperson said: "Norfolk County Council made us aware of an incident where personal data was left unsecured by Diamond Care (UK) Ltd at the former Pine Heath care home.

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"As Pine Heath has ceased trading, the council confirmed it has secured the data and has arranged its destruction.

"After considering the information provided, we concluded no further action was necessary."

Former employees of the care home spoke out about the breach after it was discovered.

Donald Harrod, 49, from Cley, who worked there until 2006, said he was shocked when he heard about the breach. He said: "I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe how the building was left, I thought 'no, it wasn't right'.

"I asked are my details there? My P45, my bank details. I said to my wife, what's in there?"

Louise Money, who worked at Pine Heath nursing home up until its closure in 2017.

Louise Money, who worked at Pine Heath nursing home up until its closure in 2017. - Credit: Louise Money

Pine Heath nursing home in High Kelling contained boxes of unsecured patient records

Former residents’ wallets and loyalty cards lay on a desk, as did admission notes at the unsecured abandoned Pine Heath nursing home. - Credit: Archant

Louise Money, 29, from Holt, who worked at the nursing home until its closure in 2017, said the news of the data breach made her feel unwell.

She said: "It made me feel physically sick."

In September, Diamond Care was fined £81,000 for putting Pine Heath residents at risk of harm when both its boilers broke down.

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