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Exeter pensioner mistakenly sent confidential details of transgender NHS patients

Nick Duffy December 10, 2014
The NHS Highland health board has apologised for the HIV data leak. File photo

The NHS Highland health board has apologised for the HIV data leak. File photo. (Graeme Robertson/Getty)

A pensioner from Exeter is receiving dozens of confidential letters meant for an NHS clinic that helps trans people.

84-year-old Vic Kellagher had no idea why he was receiving letters about people’s gender surgery and hormone treatment – until he discovered he has a similar address to Exeter’s Specialist Gender Identity Clinic.

The former policeman lives at The Laurels, Harringcourt Road, Pinhoe, Exeter while the Gender Identity Clinic is based at The Laurels, 11-15 Dix’s Field, Exeter – which was constructed more recently.

Mr Kellagher told the told the Exeter Express and Echo of a recent letter: “It was addressed here so I just opened it as normal and it contained very personal details about this man’s sexual problems.

“It was a bit of a shock and obviously those details were very personal and confidential.

“My obvious worry is that should this sort of information fall into the wrong hands then it would leave the person described open to blackmail.”

He believes that doctors from other healthcare trusts were Googling the address for the Laurels – and mistakenly being presented with his own.

Mr Kellagher added: “It is not the postman’s fault and I know it is the responsibility of the sender to address letters correctly but I am hoping the clinic might be able to do something about its address.

“It seems the matter has been sorted out by the local health trusts who have put the word out but there seems no away of getting through to all the other doctors around the country.”

The clinic told the newspaper: “We are very sorry that Mr Kellagher continues to receive our post in error.

“We have written to him to apologise and will do everything we can to minimise the chances of it happening in the future.”

An NHS gender clinic in Scotland apologised in October, after it accidentally leaked a list of patient details in an email chain.

More: England, Exeter, Health, Mail, Medical, pensioner, post, Trans, Transgender, transsexual

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