Feeds

London hospital loses 20,000 unencrypted patient files

'Nobody expects thieves to break into locked drawers'

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Providing proof, if it were needed, that every single piece of personal data in the UK has now been lost - probably several times over, by multiple corporations and government offices - news has just broken of another theft of laptops crammed with easily accessed info. This time the there-but-for-the-grace-of-god bonehead users were hospital staff at St George's hospital in Tooting.

"We could not anticipate a determined thief who was prepared to force open a filing cabinet and locked drawers," said Chief Executive David Astley.

The six laptops in question belonged to the cardiac department, and contained information about some 20,000 patients, including their name, date of birth and postcode.

They were stolen from hospital offices during the weekend 7/8 June. The machines' drives were not encrypted. However, hospital staff were keen to stress that the laptops were "password protected". Which should stymie anyone incapable of booting them up using an alternative operating system.

“We believe the data will almost certainly be wiped by the thief so he can get a quick sale," speculated Astley.

"Nonetheless we owe it to our patients to protect their personal information and we have reminded our staff not to store this kind of data on laptops in the future. We have also set up a helpline for patients to ring for further information.”

The St George's NHS Trust has written today - ten days after the theft - to every patient, apologising for the potential risk to their confidentiality.

Trust spokespersons told the Reg that the data had only been placed on the laptops due to a "temporary problem" with the hospital's network, which has since been rectified.

Asked how long the network outage had lasted, and for comment on whether it was thought to justify placing 20,000 effectively unprotected personal records on six different machines, the Trust had not yet responded as of publication. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV
Pureed-carrot-in-ice cream C++ surprise
Twitter: La la la, we have not heard of any NUDE JLaw, Upton SELFIES
If there are any on our site it is not our fault as we are not a PUBLISHER
Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus
Italian boffins agree with popette's theory that haters are the real wrecking balls
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.