Dominic Bareham, senior reporter
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
An error by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) led to a Norfolk man receiving another person’s confidential and personal medical reports.
Toby West, 32, of Denmark Street, Diss opened his post on Friday morning to discover he had received detailed reports relating to a man from the Ipswich area, which included his social, occupational and personal history.
He said the documents stated when the man went to bed and how many times he had a bath, as well as information on medical examinations he had received and the fact that he was registered with Ipswich Medical Centre.
“The information is of quite a personal nature. Somebody was looking at the files and then got them mixed up. I don’t understand how somebody could make that mistake? It is unbelievable,” Mr West said.
He added when he phoned the DWP about the misplaced documents he was told there had been a security breach at Watford Job Centre and he should either shred the information or return the forms to the DWP by special delivery.
“I was quite shocked to receive the forms, especially as the envelope had my address on it, but the documents had someone else’s name.
“They are going to be doing an investigation into what has been going on. They are treating it as a serious security breach, but it worries me to think that they could have supplied somebody else with my information,” Mr West said.
He is currently not in work and set to receive Employment and Support Allowance from the DWP, but is appealing against a decision to place him in a work related activity group, which means he has to attend work interviews, rather than a support group, which means he can attend interviews on a voluntary basis.
He was expecting to receive paperwork relating to this appeal.
A spokesman for the DWP said: “We have retrieved the documents from Mr West and apologised for any inconvenience caused. We take security seriously and we will be investigating this incident thoroughly.”