UK: Birmingham Children’s Hospital found in breach of privacy rules

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has found Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to be in breach of the Data Protection Act (DPA).

The Information Commissioner was initially informed of a data security breach by the Trust after two unencrypted laptops containing personal information relating to 17 patients were stolen from the Medical Day Centre.

The laptops contained sensitive personal data such as patient diagnoses, video recordings and information on the health of the individual patients. The laptops belonged to the Respiratory Medicine department and were used as part of the diagnostic and on-going assessment of patients with breathing problems linked to sleep.

The Trust has agreed to sign a formal Undertaking outlining that it will now process personal information in line with the Data Protection Act. The Trust will implement a number of security measures to protect personal information more effectively. These include ensuring that the removal of encryption software against the Trust’s security policies is prevented, all portable devices such as laptops and memory sticks used to store and transmit personal data are encrypted and that physical security measures are in place to prevent unauthorized access to personal information.

Mick Gorrill, Head of Enforcement at the ICO, said: ”It is unacceptable to leave portable devices containing personal information unencrypted. The fact that these laptops contained sensitive personal data highlights the gravity of the case. I am pleased that the Trust has agreed to take these remedial steps to ensure such an incident does not happen again.”

A full copy of the Undertaking can be found here:

Source: Information Commissioner’s Office

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