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Impact of Storm Dudley, Eunice and Franklin on a Secure Archiving Facility in Wales Containing Historical Priory Patient and Employee Records

What happened?

During the severe storms in February 2022 which affected many homes and businesses, one of the secure archiving facilities in which the Priory stores its hard copy records was affected by flooding. The Facility is located at Dan-Y-Parc, Crickhowell in Wales and is owned and operated by the Oasis Group, a leading provider of data archiving services within the UK.  The Facility provides secure storage in an environmentally-controlled building and Oasis are accredited to ISO 9001: 2008 and Environmental ISO 14001:2004 standards.

As the archived records were indexed and stored securely, the Priory has been able to identify the records relate to former patients and employees based in Bristol and/or South Wales. Many of the records are also stored digitally and are therefore capable of being restored. Unfortunately, however, some of the historical records have been permanently water-damaged.

How did it happen?

Although the investigation by Oasis into the incident is still ongoing, it appears that a fallen tree blocked a stream culvert which caused floodwaters to permeate the Facility. Records stored at ground-floor level were water-damaged but an alarm triggered when water entered the building which meant the local fire brigade were able to attend promptly and take steps to minimise the amount of water entering the Facility.

How many records were affected and what is the impact?

We understand that approximately 600 boxes of Priory records have been affected. Our testing so far suggests that many records are stored digitally and are therefore capable of being restored. However, around 250 boxes pre-date the implementation of our electronic records system in 2012, which equates to approximately 4,000 former patient and staff records.  We have also identified that in relation to former staff records, these were nearing the end of their retention period, and some of the employee information is held digitally.

We are currently carrying out sample tests of the records to ascertain the impact on the affected individuals. However, we acknowledge that inconvenience will be caused in the interim to individuals who wish to obtain a paper copy of their records and where there is no digital record available.

What action have you taken since the incident?

We have obtained assurance from Oasis that the affected records remained within the Facility at all times and no records were carried away by the floodwaters or otherwise displaced. Oasis is in the process of repairing the Facility and securely destroying the records that have been permanently water damaged under the supervision of its senior management team.  Oasis has implemented additional measures to protect against the risk of data loss including having additional security personnel at the site during the repair of the Facility. We have also notified the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) about the incident.

Conclusion

We apologise most sincerely for this occurrence and any anxiety or distress it may cause. We remain entirely committed to ensuring the records of our patients and staff are archived securely.  In light of the incident we will be reviewing our other archiving centres with Oasis and other providers to ensure appropriate security and other measures are in place to cope with severe weather conditions including flooding. 

For further information or assistance, please contact our Data Protection Officer at personaldata@priorygroup.com

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