Simon Collins

Simon Collins is the Herald’s social issues reporter.

More ACC files sent to wrong client

Kahl Sharpe, who injured his neck and shoulder in 2008 when he was lifting a child onto a top bunk, shows documents which included the case notes relating to another person. Photo / Richard Robinson
Kahl Sharpe, who injured his neck and shoulder in 2008 when he was lifting a child onto a top bunk, shows documents which included the case notes relating to another person. Photo / Richard Robinson

Another ACC client has been sent a private document about someone else by mistake, while two inquiries are still under way into the last big leak of the corporation's confidential files.

Former Auckland builder Kahl Sharpe, 38, has been sent a five-page document about a Te Atatu brain injury victim in the middle of a 5cm-thick wad of documents about his own case.

The document about the other man was marked by a tab - the only tab in the wad of paper. The first page of it was printed on the back of a page of one of Mr Sharpe's own documents. He said he was very surprised to receive it.

"I would have thought they would have triple-checked it before it went out," he said.

KPMG auditors and Integrity Solutions, led by former Australian Federal Privacy Commissioner Malcolm Crompton, are already investigating how information about 6700 ACC claimants was sent to Auckland woman Bronwyn Pullar last year.

They are due to report to Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff and the ACC board on August 23.

The Auditor-General's office is also investigating.

Mr Sharpe injured his neck and shoulder in 2008 while lifting his stepson onto a top bunk. ACC has paid him for two operations, and he is still on weekly compensation because of pain for which he takes painkillers every four hours.

But he has had to get ACC decisions in his case reviewed six or seven times and is now taking the corporation to court to get it to pay for a recent shoulder operation that his private health insurance had to pay for.

"I'm still trying to get my left shoulder covered, even though it's obvious it [the pain] is from the original accident," he said.

He has requested copies of his ACC files several times since the accident.

The wad of papers he received yesterday was his file for just the past 16 months since he last requested a copy in March last year.

Ms Pullar said Mr Sharpe's case showed that the documents she received were not an isolated case.

Outgoing ACC chief executive Ralph Stewart said the latest case was "human error".

"The mistake in the information was discovered and corrected in the client's electronic file, but overlooked in the large paper file that was released," he said.

"Since the much publicised breach earlier this year, ACC's polices and processes relating to the handling of client information were reinforced. Privacy training was undertaken by all staff, and those managing personal client details signed an agreement committing to best practice management of personal information in their care.

"There are systems in place to physically check all personal information before it leaves ACC.

"An internal investigation is under way into the circumstances of the breach and the errors that led to it. We have contacted both clients involved and are in the process of retrieving the information ...

"The Office of the Privacy Commissioner has been notified."

He said ACC would implement all recommendations that emerged from the KPMG/Integrity inquiry.

- NZ Herald

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