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Nine PCs stolen from NHS hospital

Confidential patient data takes a walk

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A gang of thieves has stolen NHS computers containing eight years of confidential patient data from the pathology department of the Royal Shewsbury Hospital in Shropshire.

The break-in on Monday night - which was captured on CCTV video - has caused severe disruption to the targeted department since the computers contained medical data, photography, emails and teaching materials.

"The information hasn't been lost forever, because we back everything up on a daily basis," said NHS spokesman Phil Hipkiss. "But it is a real hassle, and no-one here is especially happy that patients' medical records have been compromised like this."

There is no suggestion that the break in was specifically aimed at gaining patient information. All the stolen items - nine PCs and a laptop - were described as "saleable". "They left a lot of other, bulkier stuff behind," Hipkiss told The Register.

He went on to say that this was the first incident of its kind at the hospital, although the nearby Princess Royal Hospital in Telford suffered a similar break-in last year. In that case, however, the computers stolen were in a very publicly-accessible area. The computers lifted from the pathology department were not, suggesting the robbers may have known their way around.

Shropshire police are now examining the CCTV footage for clues, and have appealed for members of the public to come forward if they are offered the machines for sale. ®

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