UK: Junior doctor's laptop stolen, with confidential patient data uploaded

Ethel Smith reports:

Government offices have had problems in the past with storing confidential data. Services such as the NHS have tightened their procedures considerably. Despite that, the UK Hospital Trust, which operates where I live, has recently had a member of staff lose confidential data.

It seems that a junior doctor did not follow the strict rules. Against trust procedures, this doctor uploaded confidential information onto a non-encrypted laptop computer. Details of 1,147 patients were uploaded. The information included names, dates of birth, hospital numbers and treatments. All of the patients involved were Orthopaedic cases.

This behaviour may never have come to light but for the fact that the laptop was stolen from the junior doctor’s home. After the theft, the doctor did not initially come clean to the hospital trust. He notified police of the theft but waited two weeks before informing his employers.

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