A probe was under way last night after highly-confidential medical files and records were found dumped in the grounds of an abandoned nursing home in Bradford.
Among the personal information scattered in piles of rubbish at The Knoll at Thackley were care plans, detailed health assessments and poignant photos of residents who had lived there until its sudden closure in 2008.
When Bradford District Safeguarding Adults Board shut the home down because of “risks to residents”, a total of 27 residents – some bedridden, confused and suffering from dementia – had to be transferred to several other homes.
The recovered records, believed to have been dumped by vandals and thieves who have ransacked the home, are now being stored safely by ward Councillor Jeanette Sunderland. She was alerted by residents fed up of living next door to the run-down home.
Coun Sunderland (Lib Dem, Idle and Thackley) has now reported the home’s Leeds-based owners ADL to nursing home and data protection watchdogs calling for action.
The company is still advertising The Knoll on its website as a leafy 43-bed nursing care home for 42 elderly patients.
Coun Sunderland said: “I have asked both the Care Quality Commission and Information Commissioner’s Office to take action against ADL for the dreadful way they are managing private and confidential information.
“I have collected the files and photographs and have them stored safely. I will be sending them to the Director of Adult Care in Bradford. I hope that the weight of the law will be used against this company.”
Constituency MP David Ward said: “ADL is behaving in a cavalier way with personal records and showing a complete disregard for the feelings of former residents and their families.
“I was shocked to see pictures of former residents, enjoying life, being left to thieves and vandals. I am angry that the company has not responded to local residents who have raised concerns about safety and security at the abandoned home.
“I have written directly to Sir William Wells, the chairman of the board, asking him to personally step in and take responsibility for this disgrace.”
Moira Wilson, Bradford Council’s strategic director for adult services, said the authority was now carrying out its own inquiry and would make sure that that any confidential records are now dealt with appropriately.
She said: “The Council expects records belonging to individuals to stay with the individual to provide continuity of care.
“Council contracts with private providers requires providers to adhere to both data protection and confidentiality policies. We were unaware of any records being left behind and it is the responsibility of the private company to ensure all records have been moved to the new provider or destroyed.”
A Care Quality Commission spokesman also said the responsibility of the files found discarded at the home belongs to The Knoll’s owners.
No one at ADL would comment to the Telegraph & Argus.