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Exeter Patient: 'Lost data puts my life at risk'

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: January 24, 2013

By Tom Bevan

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The woman has now withdrawn herself from services by the Devon Partnership NHS Trust after it could not account for three items she left in its possession

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A PATIENT who says she fled to Exeter after receiving death threats has expressed her horror after documents she feels could identify her were lost by medical staff.

The woman, who has asked to remain anonymous, says she was the victim of "complex abuse" and was forced to travel hundreds of miles to seek sanctuary in the city several years ago.

Yet she has now withdrawn herself from services by the Devon Partnership NHS Trust after it could not account for three items she left in its possession.

She claims she would be put at "severe risk" should the items she feels could identify her fall into the wrong hands.

The trust has apologised to the her but said that no clinical information was among the missing items.

They were a cassette recording she made when she came in and gave a talk about her life story, a paper copy of the talk and two photos.

It is understood that two of the complaints are from a few years ago but she discovered the tape was lost in an office move when she requested it back last month.

She said: "I am so angry about how my local primary care trust has treated me. As a direct result of my abuse I have mental health issues that I received treatment for.

"During my time as a patient my trust has been betrayed by the very people who should be ensuring my safety. I was assured my personal information would be kept safe, but on three occasions my personal identifying information has been lost. This has included a recording of my life story for a training day I took part in, a paper copy of the talk and some photos.

"It is an absolute disgrace that even though the trust are aware of the risk I would be at if my information got in to the wrong hands, they could not keep my information safe.

"I feel it is important for the general public to know what has happened to me. If I had not requested my documents back I wouldn't have been any the wiser."

The woman said she was the victim of long-term abuse by family members and claims there are still people trying to trace her.

"There is a letter from the police on my database which says I should have the same protection as someone in the witness protection programme," she added. "But I have not had that from the trust."

A spokesman from Devon Partnership NHS Trust said: "We are handling this issue as a formal complaint and would like to apologise for the loss of these items, which took place a few years ago.

"We would like to point out, however, that we do not believe that any clinical information has been lost or mishandled."

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