A GP surgery has apologised after suffering a data breach when confidential papers were blown away due to high winds.

Braintree’s Mount Chambers Surgery, in Coggeshall Road, which serves more than 13,000 people according to NHS data, suffered the breach earlier this month during a day of strong winds.

The surgery said confidential papers blew away during a routine collection by a waste disposal company

In a statement from the surgery sent to patients, it reads: “On Monday, March 13, 2023, Mount Chambers Surgery experienced a data breach.

“Confidential paper waste spilled out onto the pavement whilst being collected by our confidential waste disposal company.

“Due to the high winds experienced on this day some of the confidential waste blew into areas surrounding the surgery.

“Upon being made aware of the data breach staff members worked as quickly and efficiently as they could to gather all information that could be seen and reached."

The surgery has urged anyone who comes across data from the surgery to dispose of it. 

The statement added: “We ask please that should you come across any information that you believe is in relation to this incident that you return this to the practice so we can dispose of this appropriately.

“We ask that you do not disclose, copy, or distribute any of the information or take any action in reliance to its contents, to do so is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful.

“The surgery has raised the incident with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), notified our local Information Governance Lead at the ICB, raised the incident as significant event as well as reported the incident to our Confidential Waste Disposals head office.

“The surgery has endeavoured to collect all the information and we hope that nobody is affected by this incident. 

“The surgery offers its sincerest apologies that this incident occurred and for any concern this may cause.”

A spokesman for the ICO confirmed it received the note from the surgery.

They said: "Mount Chambers Surgery made us aware of an incident.

“After carefully reviewing the information provided, we gave data protection advice and recommendations and closed the case with no further action.”