Patient records abandoned in old hospital

CONFIDENTIAL medical records have been abandoned in a former Leeds hospital building.

Filing cabinets containing patients' details were found in the Mansion House on the former Chapel Allerton hospital site, which closed 14 years ago.

Planning permission has been given for the building on Mansion Gate Drive to be converted into flats.

Urban Explorers, a group who access abandoned buildings to document their interiors, photographed the records inside the Grade II listed building.

One, who insisted he had not broken into the building, told the YEP: "I'm sure the people concerned don't want me or any other random reading their medical history.

"I found the records in some filing cabinets down in the basement and grabbed an armful to read – there were plenty more down there."

The photos show letters between doctors detailing medical conditions and treatment.

Maureen Idle, from campaign group Leeds Hospital Alert is a former nurse who used to work at the hospital and campaigned against its closure. She said: "To have sold the building to anybody with records in the basement is an absolute disgrace. They should have checked the buildings before they were sold."

The Mansion, left, was built as stately house Gledhow Grove in the 1830s and designed by John Clark, who also designed Roundhay Park Mansion.

The original Chapel Allerton Hospital, comprising the house and other buildings, opened in 1927. It was run by the Ministry of Pensions to treat soldiers injured in the First World War.

It was taken over by the Ministry of Health and closed in 1994 when services moved to the site across Harehills Lane. By then the mansion was being used as NHS offices.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust sold the site and most other buildings were demolished to make way for a housing estate.

A spokesman for the trust said: "I understand that at that time there were some issues relating to the safety of parts of the mansion building due to asbestos and this may have meant some old records dating back to the 1960s could not be removed.

"We have been in touch with the owner of the building this week and if it is safe to do so the trust will take steps to arrange for any old patient records to be recovered."

It is now owned by Mansion Gate House Limited, which was given planning permission last year to create 15 flats in the building and another 22 in a new building nearby.

Jeffrey Wine, who has owned the mansion for six years, said he was unaware of the medical records and would help hospital trust bosses in any way he could.