SYDNEY, April 21 (Xinhua) -- The New South Wales (NSW) Department of Health in Australia has been caught up in a furore on Friday, after it was revealed that confidential letters to patients were dumped in regular household trash bins.
The letters contained details relating to outpatient information, to be sent to doctors, hospitals and medical centres, but the Health Department hired a subcontractor who rather than mailing them, decided to dump them in a bin near her residence in the Sydney suburb of Ashfield.
According to a NSW Health statement, the female subcontractor had been experiencing health problems at the time of the letters being disposed of unlawfully.
The trashed letters which were supposed to be sent in January, were discovered by a resident earlier in April, and the department began investigating the incident last week.
Speaking on the incident, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said Friday, the investigation concluded that there may be health delays for those patients affected, however no patients were in any physical harm due to the bungle.
"I've directed the department to do a full and independent review...I want to be satisfied we are doing everything to reduce human error," Hazzard said.
A spokesperson for NSW Health told Xinhua on Friday that the letters were found by the resident who immediately notified NSW Police.
The spokesperson went on to indicate that the police secured the letters, until handed over to NSW Health officials, and as such, they feel confident no privacy breach such as identity theft would have been able to occur.