Feeds

NHS warned about data protection

Trusts pledge to treat data incontinence

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Data breaches at four trusts have prompted the Information Commissioner's Office to remind the health service about patient record privacy.

All NHS trusts have been reminded about data security after breaches at Cambridge University Hospital, Central Lancashire Primary Care, North West London Hospitals and Hull & East Yorkshire NHS trusts.

In Cambridge an unencrypted memory stick containing the medical treatment details of 741 patients was lost when a staff member left it in an unattended vehicle. The memory stick, which was privately owned, was discovered by a car wash attendant who was able to access the contents and establish ownership. The information was downloaded without the knowledge of the trust.

Central Lancashire also lost a memory stick with the treatment details of 6,360 prison patients, some believed to be former inmates of HMP Preston. The memory stick was thought to have been lost by a member of staff returning from the prison clinic and, despite being encrypted, the details could have been accessed from a note of the password which was attached to the device.

Two laptops and a desktop computer were stolen from the North West London Hospitals trust. They contained test results and the hospital numbers of 361 patients. The laptops were stolen from the audiology department of Central Middlesex Hospital and the PC was taken from the offices of Northwick Park Hospital after the security swipe card system was disabled for maintenance. Although the equipment was password protected, the data was not encrypted.

In two incidents at Hull & East Yorkshire, a computer was lost during refurbishments and a disused laptop was stolen from a locked office. Together they contained the unencrypted medical details of 2,300 patients.

The ICO said that all four trusts have signed formal undertakings to process personal information in line with the Data Protection Act. They will implement measures to protect personal information more effectively and all portable and mobile devices used to store and transmit personal data must be encrypted.

Mick Gorrill, assistant information commissioner at the ICO, said: "These four cases serve as a stark reminder to all NHS organisations that sensitive patient information is not always being handled with adequate security.

"It is a matter of significant concern to us that in the last six months it has been necessary to take regulatory action against 14 NHS organisations for data breaches. In these latest cases staff members have accessed patient records without authorisation and on occasions have failed to adhere to policies to protect such information in transit. There is little point in encrypting a portable media device and then attaching the password to it.

"The Data Protection Act clearly states that organisations must take appropriate measures to ensure that personal information is kept secure. These four organisations recognise the seriousness of these data losses and have agreed to take immediate remedial action."

This article was originally published at Kable.

Kable's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
BT said to have pulled patent-infringing boxes from DSL network
Take your license demand and stick it in your ASSIA
Right to be forgotten should apply to Google.com too: EU
And hey - no need to tell the website you've de-listed. That'll make it easier ...
Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned
Swedish court rules there's 'great risk' WikiLeaker will dodge prosecution
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.