Medical files found in rubble of Dr Alasdair McDonnell's former GP surgery
SENSITIVE medical information, including details of women's miscarriages, have been found near the former surgery of SDLP leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell.
The files were found by children after the former health centre in south Belfast was demolished to make way for social housing.
One journal, marked 'confidential' beside the handwritten name 'Dr McDonnell', contains the names and addresses of several women who appear to have lost their unborn babies during the 1990s.
Another journal contains the names and addresses of dozens of patients across south and east Belfast and gives details of their conditions and medication.
The South Belfast MP and MLA, pictured, who retired from the practice in 2009, last night a p o l o g i s e d "for any a n x i e t y or upset that may be caused to former patients."
Also visible in the O r m e a u Road rubble y e s t e r d a y were SDLP e l e c t i o n documents for the South Belfast constituency listing the names of addresses of voters and their believed party political affiliation.
Several one-tonne builder bags filled with documents were removed from the rear of the former surgery by a shredding firm yesterday after journalists from The Irish News arrived.
The site has been derelict for some time and is understood to have been used for antisocial behaviour.
In a statement to this newspaper Dr McDonnell confirmed that some "confidential medical and other information has become publicly available".
"It is evident now that somehow a small number of medical and personal files were not disposed of in the appropriate and secure fashion. This is a matter of the utmost seriousness and I am sincerely sorry for any anxiety or upset that may be caused to former patients," it read.
"As soon as I was made aware I informed the practice head of the medical practice from which I retired in 2009, who moved immediately to get a confidential shredding company on site to ensure that all papers are removed and disposed of without delay."
* DISCARDED: Main picture, documents strewn about the remains of the demolished former health centre on Ormeau Road in south Belfast yesterday. Top right, several one-tonne builder bags filled with the files were removed by a shredding firm after journalists from The Irish News arrived. Inset, one of the confidential journals bearing the SDLP leader's name PICTURES: Mal McCann
? Full reports ? P14-16