An investigation has been launched after personal medical files were found lying in the street.

Former hospital clerk Adele Hughes was horrified to find the x-rays of a patient in his 70s abandoned in College Terrace, Brighton.

She said they were supposed to have been transported from the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

They revealed personal details of a man who had a history of heart problems and had previously been in intensive care.

Miss Hughes, 32, of Madehurst Close, Brighton said she was shocked that not only had private data been exposed to the public but a patient's treatment had been potentially delayed because the doctor did not have the information he needed.

She said she had previously worked as a hospital clerk in the health records department at the Royal Sussex and knew how crucial it could be to lose such vital data.

The said the notes of her five-year-old son Billy at the Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital in Brighton also went missing last September.

She said: "Notes and x-rays go missing a lot, we were always running around trying to find them.

"It can mean treatment gets delayed since lots of doctors won't operate until they have been properly informed of a patient's medical history.

"Also, I now know this guy's name and all sorts of information about him. It could be a member of my family and could have landed someone in an awful lot of trouble.

"The system of carrying details from site to site is obviously not secure enough. I found the x-rays propped up against a fence at the side of a road - as if they had fallen out of a courier van and someone had picked them up and put them there for safety.

"They should be able to find a way to stop this happening."

A spokeswoman from Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, in charge of both hospitals, confirmed that the x-rays had been picked up from a member of the public.

She said they had been sent between the hospitals on May 29, three days before they had been found on Friday.

She said: "It is alleged that this patient's x-rays were found in a street close to the Royal Sussex County Hospital and we will be undertaking a full and thorough investigation to establish how this occurred."