UK: Bungling West Midlands medics lose 12,000 private patient records

Jonny Greatrex reports:

Bungling Midland medics have lost the personal records of nearly 12,000 NHS patients in just eight months, the Sunday Mercury can reveal.

The incredible data loss includes the confidential files of 10,000 people – taken after criminals stole a server from a dental practice.

Other incidents saw more than 170 private patient details emailed to an insurance company by mistake. But it is not just those using the NHS who are at risk of having sensitive information about them passed on. Last year a hospital worker was suspended after it was discovered he had sent a file containing payslip details for EVERY member of staff to his home e-mail account.


In total, 18,848 separate pieces of confidential data were lost in the West Midlands NHS. Of these 11,799 were related to patients, with the rest being staff information.

Read more in the Sunday Mercury.

The article notes that details of all the incidents are published on the NHS West Midlands website. They are, but the reports take some time to find. Jump to this page and scroll down to the most recent report. As the trust notes, for the first quarter of 2010:

24 incidents were reported to NHS West Midlands involving the loss or theft of patient information from Trusts and these are detailed below. These data losses should be seen in the context of the vast range and scope of NHS activity in the West Midlands. For example across this region from 1 January – 31 March 2010 approximately:

  • 456,000 people attended Accident and Emergency Departments
  • Over 8 million people will have visited their GP
  • Nearly 14 million will have been in contact with some part of the NHS

There are approximately 130,000 NHS staff in the West Midlands and for the vast majority of time they use sensitive data every day and keep it safely protected.

The report that follows covers incidents going back to June 2009, as described in the newspaper account.

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