Statement from NHS South, Central and West Child Health Information Service

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For parents and carers - mail merge error apology

Sue Trinder, Director of Child Health Information Service (CHIS), NHS South, Central and West (CHIS), said:

"This week we wrote to parents and carers of children aged three across Bath and North East Somerset, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Swindon encouraging them to take up a free flu vaccine at their GP surgery. Unfortunately, due to a mail merge error, the addresses and names of the children were mixed up resulting in households being sent an invitation for the wrong child.

“We would like to sincerely apologise to all parents for this error and reassure them that the letter contained no other personal information other than the name of a child. We would like to assure parents that all children’s records held by us have not been impacted during this process and nor does it affect records held by your local hospital and other healthcare providers.

“SCW takes our data protection responsibilities seriously and are investigating this matter thoroughly, and are actively amending our processes to ensure this does not happen again.

“We are writing to all the parents concerned and those who have an eligible three year old will receive a follow-up flu vaccination letter shortly.  We would ask all recipients to dispose of the previous letter in as secure a manner as possible.”

For any parent who has received a children’s flu immunisation letter with the incorrect name and has concerns please contact our CHIS service on: 01235 431313.

Notes to editors

SCW Child Health Information Service (CHIS) is responsible for notifying the relevant health visitor about all new births and children who have moved into their area to ensure all new born babies have received their new born screening monitoring.

SCW Child Health Information Service (CHIS) also writes to parents inviting them to contact their GP practice to make an appointment for their child’s immunisations as they become due and follow up on children with missing immunisation.

We work specifically with maternity units, general practices, health visitors, school nurses and Local authorities to monitor and improve uptake of screening and immunisation programmes.

For all media queries please contact Sue Pratt, SCW Communications Manager, on 0117 900 2476: M: 07786 525 736: E: susan.pratt3@nhs.net

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