Facebook privacy row Abergavenny hospital patient apologises for posting pictures on internet
A WOMAN who posted pictures of sick pensioners on a hospital ward on the internet has apologised after being visited by health board staff.
An investigation was launched last month after the photographs of two women on a ward at Nevill Hall Hospital, Abergavenny, were posted on social networking site Facebook along with derogatory remarks.
The Argus reported how the images were placed on the site along with a string of comments mocking them for throwing up, having "accidents", false teeth and a "green mist" surrounding them.
The photo was taken by a fellow patient, whom the Argus decided not to name, with friends commenting things like "There's a funny green mist surrounding her" and "Why have they put you on the old birds ward! That's just cruel".
An incensed Facebook user spotted the exchanges and notified south Wales east AM Lindsay Whittle, who contacted the Aneurin Bevan Healthboard and the Older Person's Commissioner.
The health board's chief executive Dr Andrew Goodall wrote to Mr Whittle this week, confirming officials visited the perpetrator at home. He said she was made aware of the impact of her actions and she has since taken the photograph down and apologised.
Following the complaint, he said staff have been visiting wards and departments at the hospital, reinforcing the message that taking photographs on hospital premises using mobile phones is banned.
Dr Goodall said in the letter: "New posters have been produced and have been placed in view so that patients and visitors are aware of the policy that taking photographs is strictly forbidden in order to safeguard the dignity and confidentiality of patients and staff."
Mr Whittle, who received the complaint from a constituent, welcomed the "prompt action", calling it a 'very serious breach of patient confidentiality".
He added: "I hope we never have another incident of this kind."