North

N.W.T. gov't to notify 134 whose health records were found at Fort Simpson dump

The N.W.T. Health and Social Services Authority says that they will begin an investigation into a health records breach that led to hundreds of health records being found at a Fort Simpson dump.

Investigation beginning into root causes, accountability in relation to breach

Randal Sibbeston says he found the files in a Bankers Box at the Fort Simpson dump. The territorial government has begun notifying 134 individuals impacted by the breach. (Hilary Bird/CBC)

The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority (NTHSSA) has begun notifying 134 individuals whose health records were found at a dump in Fort Simpson, N.W.T.

The records, found by resident Randal Sibbeston, contain detailed information about patients' mental health and history of drug use, including applications to addictions treatment facilities, progress reports from those facilities, and detailed notes from one-on-one counselling sessions.

CBC North first reported the breach last week after being contacted by Sibbeston. The files have since been handed over to the N.W.T.'s privacy commissioner.

In a news release issued Wednesday afternoon, the NTHSSA said that they had begun notifying impacted patients by letter "beginning today," and that after an initial review, 134 individuals have been identified who will be contacted.

The release says that the individuals impacted will be initially contacted by mail. The letter will include how further information will be provided, and how they can access supports.

The release also says that after the initial review of the records, "it is unclear that they all originated with the GNWT and it has been determined that a more comprehensive investigation will be required to determine their origin."

The release says that the NTHSSA's investigation "will look back at what parties had responsibility for the delivery of programming related to mental health and addictions during the period the records were created," and that they will work with the N.W.T.'s privacy commissioner.

In a fact sheet included with the release, the NTHSSA said that an investigation "focusing on root causes, accountability, and on identifying any processes or procedures that need improvement" will also be undertaken.

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