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Trespassers find confidential patient records in derelict Buckland Hospital - and post them online

A funeral director is disgusted that confidential death certificates and mortuary lists were left at the derelict Buckland Hospital for trespassers to post on the internet.

The important documents were strewn over old desks in the forgotten building that has been unused since June last year.

Julie Farrier, director of funeral company W. J. Farrier and Son, said: “I find it very disturbing that such sensitive documents have been left in the old Buckland Hospital.

Dozens of books were found, containing confidential details of patients over the decades
Dozens of books were found, containing confidential details of patients over the decades

“Why they have been left there and not archived in a safe place is truly irresponsible.”

Security has been tightened since the trespassers gained entry in December.

The site was fully decommissioned in January when operations transferred to the new hospital next door.

The pictures were posted by a group of holidaymakers who were staying overnight in the town before catching a ferry in December. They managed to get inside and tour the historic premises.

The Mercury has been unable to track down their identities.

A spokesman for the group, who calls himself Mockney Reject, said they managed to enter during early morning.

The post on an online forum said: “We found all sorts, from hospital beds to a room full of old records. Death certificates, mortuary records and general patient records dating back for decades.”

The pictures posted show the dark and dreary corridors, old signs, a plastic body dummy, medical equipment and more than 12 documents which potentially hold details of residents and their family members.

A comment attached to the article claims security was not bolstered over Christmas and it was left “open to vandalism” during that time.

MP for Dover Charlie Elphicke said: “I am deeply concerned that this could be very difficult for relatives and next of kin if any of these documents come into the public domain.

“Patient confidentiality has to be at the heart of all the NHS does.

The old Buckland Hospital photographed in May last year
The old Buckland Hospital photographed in May last year

“However, a situation like this in the old Buckland Hospital is concerning and it is vital that the hospital trust ensures that all hospital records are safely maintained and that patient confidentiality is preserved.

“I hope they will make sure that the old Buckland Hospital is secure and all records are archived appropriately.”

Police spokesman Jon Green said: “Trespass is a civil matter and not a criminal offence.

“Kent Police has liaised with building control at Dover District Council and has met with security representatives from the NHS.

“As a result, the NHS has increased their security presence at the site.

“This has improved the situation and led to a reduction in the number of calls made to us about youths causing a nuisance at the site.”

East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust spokesman Yasmin Khan said: “The process of decommissioning the old Buckland Hospital was still taking place in December 2015.

“The majority of equipment and notes were removed prior to December but the site was fully decommissioned by January 2016.”

The Coombe Valley Road site now houses a brand new multi-million pound hospital next door and the old premises has been boarded up.

It was understood that hospital staff and volunteers helped to transfer equipment from one site to the other before the grand opening.

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