Wednesday, August 21, 2013
The 30-year-old received 25 pages of detailed records when applying for benefits - belonging to a complete stranger.
A BARNSTAPLE man was disgusted to open a letter regarding his application for benefits – only to find someone else’s detailed medical records inside.
Jamie Parker, 30, discovered the 25 pages of intimate medical reports belonging to a complete stranger had been sent to his address on Saturday.
At first the father-of-three read the decision letter addressed to him about his application for employment support allowance and thought nothing of it.
But it wasn’t until his partner Sadie Haycocks started to look through the report she realised something didn’t match up.
“She knew the medical records weren’t mine, and we checked the name to find it was for someone completely different who lives in Exeter,” said Jamie.
“They had sent the decision letter addressed to me with his report behind it, but now I don’t know if the decision was based on my records or his.
“To make it even worse, this man has severe anxiety problems; I can’t imagine how he would feel if he knew his records had been sent to me.”
Upon realising the mistake, Jamie swiftly put the details back into the envelope and contacted the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
“They had to question me for about five minutes because of the Data Protection Act to confirm who I was before they would even speak to me,” said Jamie.
“I’ve never been able to get my own medical records sent to me – it all seems quite ironic considering they just sent me someone else’s.”
Jamie, who suffers from several medical conditions including seizures and heart problems, said the incident had put him off sending any details to the DWP.
He said: “My application got turned down but the doctor has told me I can’t work, so I’m going to have to keep trying, but it is worrying.
“For all I know this means my details could have been sent to someone else; I wouldn’t be very happy about that at all.”
A spokesman for the DWP spokesperson apologised to everyone affected by the incident and said: “We take date security very seriously.
“After investigating this incident, we have reminded staff of the correct procedures.”
Has this happened to you? Contact reporter Sarah Howells on email@example.com or 01271 341658.