Feeds

UK doctor loses unencrypted laptop containing patient data

Sticks and stones may break my bones but data loss really riles me

Build a business case: developing custom apps

A UK doctor faces a disciplinary inquiry after an unencrypted laptop containing confidential patient data was stolen from his home.

The unnamed junior medic acted against regulations set by the Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, his employers. The doctor took unencrypted patient information – including names, dates of birth, the treatments – on 1,147 patients and loaded it onto his laptop, which was stolen in November. The medic waited for two weeks before informing his superiors about the theft.

Hospital bosses have written to orthopaedic patients (who had been treated for broken bones, hip replacements etc) in order to apologise. The medic was temporally suspended as a result of the incident but has now returned to work pending the results of a disciplinary hearing, This is Hull reports.

The local news outlet has a picture of irate mum Cathie Holmes, 37, of Beverley, whose daughter Mary, 12, was among those whose details were exposed. Hospital bosses wrote a letter to Mary about the breach, a move that incensed her mum. "You can't send a letter of that magnitude to a child and expect them to understand it," she said.

The breach is the third incident of personal data exposure to affect Hull residents in less than a year, following an earlier snafu involving the theft of sensitive data from A4e and the unauthorised access of sensitive data by an NHS staffer.

Chris McIntosh, chief exec of encryption tools firm Stonewood, said hospital bosses were partly to blame for the latest incident.

"It is all very well organisations having regulations on data protection, yet if they can be easily broken by employees, whether knowingly or not, they become meaningless," McIntosh said.

"This doctor should never have had the opportunity to take unencrypted data home with him. Hull and East Yorkshire Trust needs to have more than regulations in place that simply shift the blame to employees," he added. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy
Why, we might as well have been buying AIR
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.