Feeds

UK doctor loses unencrypted laptop containing patient data

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

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

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. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
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
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.