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Appeal for stray referral letters

Waikato District Health Board is appealing for residents in the Claudelands area of Hamilton East to contact the duty manager at Waikato Hospital if they find any medical referral letters.

An investigation is already underway as to how the letters ended up in rubbish, due for collection in the area around Jesmond and Pirana parks near the Claudelands Bridge, on Christmas Eve.

Health Waikato chief operating officer Jan Adams said the most important thing now was to recover the radiology referral letters to ensure everything "clinically" within them had been done.

The letters would contain a patient's name, address and national health number. Typically they would also have a doctor's name as the referrer. Ones already recovered by staff, who have searched the area, appear to be faxed copies rather than original letters.

If any member of the public finds these referral letters, they should ring the duty manager at Waikato Hospital 07 839 8899 who will make arrangements to collect them.

"We consider this is a breach of patient confidentiality which we will investigate accordingly," said Mrs Adams.

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