07/09/2012 01:43 EDT | Updated 09/08/2012 05:12 EDT

Confidential N.W.T. health info faxed to CBC North

A confidential medical document has been accidentally sent to CBC North for the fifth time in two years.

On Thursday, the health centre in Fort Providence sent personal medical information to the newsroom fax machine, which is in the centre of a busy open office.

Following the fourth incident two years ago, the provincial Health Department introduced measures it hoped would prevent the situation from recurring. It said all fax machines would be programmed with he correct numbers to avoid dialing mistakes. For faxes that were not programmed, two staff members were to ensure the correct number is dialed.

Health Minister Tom Beaulieu said Monday the department is still trying to figure what caused the latest incident.

“Apparently a summer student was the one who sent the fax," Beaulieu said. "Why a summer student was sending faxes, I don't know.”

Regional authorities are responsible for enforcing the new fax rules, Beaulieu said.

“The health authorities have to take this stuff seriously," he said. "I understand in this case that it's a summer student, but the summer student does have a supervisor as well.”

Beaulieu said when CBC alerted the department of the mistake, the patient and the privacy commissioner were notified.

Prescription record

In June 2010, the Yellowknife Health and Social Services Authority faxed a patient's prescription record to the CBC's Yellowknife newsroom. On the same day, the authority sent a document about someone's meeting with a wellness counsellor in Fort Smith, N.W.T.

In May 2010, health officials in Norman Wells sent pages of blood test and Pap test results to the same fax machine.

Human error was cited as the reason for those mistakes.