"Confidentiality? Dignity and respect?"

About: Cumberland Infirmary

I had cause to come to A&E with an eye problem. I didn't have long to wait and the doctor I saw was thorough and professional and treated the problem and asked me to attend the eye clinic a week hence (& to come back earlier should things not improve).

So far more than so good..I then went back to A & E reception, unsure as to whether or not I needed to inform them I was leaving. The reception desk was unattended so I stood and waited and notice someone's notes open on the desk and turned towards me. I was able to read these very easily and it not only showed name address etc but information of a personal nature. The receptionist returned and looked at me accusingly and shut them. . It was the same receptionist who was there when I arrived who had questioned someone who came in after me and kept asking them to repeat things because they couldn't hear them, and they looked u comfortable...qI felt sorry for them and they weren't the kind of people to articulate their discomfort and the receptionist was intelligent enough if not empathetic enough to realise that....if I could tell they weren't happy surely so could they and should've suggested taking them somewhere more private....the a and e reception offers no privacy therefore people wanting to relate private and sensitive information are treated with no respect for their dignity whatsoever........fortunately I have a strong belief in people's right to privacy and have not repeated any information I saw or heard....but how long had they been left open and who else saw the notes?......

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Response from Cumberland Infirmary

Thank you for alerting the Trust to this in A&E. Patient confidentiality is something we take very seriously and I am very sorry to hear of your experience.

I will inform the A&E manager and Matron of your experience and will ensure they discuss it with the staff and re-emphasis the importance of confidentiality, dignity and respect. In addition I'll ask them to monitor this to ensure it does not happen again.

Thank you for taking the time to post this


North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust

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