UK: NHS appraisal toolkit yanked offline

John Leyden reports:

The UK’s Department of Health has taken the highly unusual step of suddenly taking a doctors’ appraisal website offline for three weeks over concerns it was vulnerable to hacking attacks.

The NHS Appraisal Toolkit was taken down on Tuesday (9 February) and is not expected to return until 3 March.

The site provides an online database that allowed NHS doctors to prepare for their annual appraisals. The database therefore contains confidential information about all GPs’ performance, along with a large amount of named patient data including near diagnosis misses, critical incidents and the like.

Read more in The Register, where they’ve posted a statement from the NHS.

A statement on the NHS appraisal toolkit site reads:

Although there has been NO evidence of any breach of security, routine testing of the NHS Appraisal Toolkit website indicates that it should be updated to ensure that this cannot happen.

As the safety and security of your data is the foremost priority, the ATK website was taken down at 16.00 on the 9 February 2010.

The ATK website will be re-instated by Wednesday 3 March 2010.

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