NHS data breaches hit 75 in a year

Seventy five breaches of data security rules by the health service have been reported to the information commissioner’s office in the past year, new figures reveal.

The NHS and healthcare sector is second only to the whole of the private sector at losing computers, records and data.

The 75 breaches included 27 lost computers and laptops, 14 losses of paper records and 18 of removable media such as memory sticks.

Data was “inappropriately disclosed” on five occasions, there were two postal errors, one email error and one website security breach.

Eighty breaches in the private sector have been reported since November last year, 28 in central government, 26 in local government and 47 in other public sector bodies.

Information Commissioner Richard Thomas said reports had “soared” since the high profile loss of 25m child benefit records in autumn last year.

He said responsibility for data breaches should lay with chief executives, who should ensure appropriate policies and procedures are in place, that privacy is incorporated into their technology and that staff are properly trained.

“It is alarming that despite high profile data losses, the threat of enforcement action, a plethora of reports on data handling and clear ICO guidance, the flow of data breaches and sloppy information handling continues,” said Mr Thomas.


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