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ID theft fears over Hampshire hospital PC theft

Patient peril

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The theft of 30 computers containing patient details from a disused hospital site in Hampshire has sparked ID theft fears.

PCs, worth an estimated £15,000, were taken from a storeroom in the recently closed Lymington Infirmary earlier this month. The facility was shut to make way for a new £36m facility in the town.

Although the stolen computers are not believed to contain medical records, they may contain the names and addresses of patients and workers on the site. Health care administrators have begun an audit designed to determine exactly what information the PCs contained.

"Following the theft our technical experts have been reviewing what was stored on, and moved from, each computer's hard drive," a Hampshire Primary Care Trust spokeswoman told the Daily Mail.

"There were no complete medical records on the stolen machines. Our policy is that no information about individuals should be stored on the hard drives of computers," she added.

Hospital staff were advised not to store patient records on PCs in September 2006 via a memo containing guidance that was reissued in December 2006, shortly before the theft. The stolen PCs were pinched just before techies were due to check that they'd been wiped clean of potentially sensitive information.

The trust plans to make a decision about whether to inform individuals whose data was potentially exposed by the theft after completing its investigation about what data was on the machines.

The theft has been reported to Hampshire Police, which is investigating the case, the Daily Mail adds. ®

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