PERFORMANCE: Mersey Care Trust has published details of a confidentiality breach in which a member of staff accidentally circulated the personal details of volunteers who had visited patients at the high-security Ashworth Hospital.

The trust has had seven reportable breaches of confidentiality since April. Two, which both occurred since July, related to the same team in the trust’s specialist management services department.

According to its latest serious incidents and complaints report, on 3 July “an email was sent out regarding a volunteer befriender opportunity to a group of 16 non Mersey Care staff”.

“Upon email circulation the sender was contacted by a member of staff who advised her that the wrong document had been sent out and the document circulated contained the names and addresses of current befrienders, telephone contact details, names of patients visited in Ashworth Hospital and name of their nominated social worker.”

In the second incident detailed, an email was circulated to 300 service users or carers using a group email address list instead of “bcc”, thereby providing those on the list “open access to each other’s private email addresses”.

According to Mersey Care all patients in Ashworth “present a grave danger to themselves or other people”.