NHS research body loses 12 laptops Health records of 8.63m NHS patients go AWOL

16 June 2011

Laptops containing personal data go missing

Laptops containing personal data go missing

A laptop containing the personal and sensitive data relating to 8.63 million NHS patients has gone missing.

The laptop was one of 12 taken from a storeroom within the grounds of one of the NHS North Central London health authority's hospital sites.

All the laptops were password-protected and only one contained the anonymised health records of some of the hospital’s patients.

Related content: Tips on how to protect your identity online, including how to protect yourself from scams and create a strong password.

A spokesperson said it was unlikely that the records could be matched to an individual:

‘We currently believe there is a very low risk that any data could be recovered from this laptop or that patients could be identified from the loss of this data,' she said.

‘We take any potential data breaches very seriously and a full investigation is underway. We are working closely with both the Metropolitan Police and the Information Commissioner.

London Health Programmes (LHP), a medical research organisation, only recently reported the laptops to the police, despite the fact that the laptops have been missing for three weeks.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has also been informed of the missing laptops and has launched an investigation.

A spokesperson said: ‘Any allegation that sensitive, personal information has been compromised is concerning and we will now make enquiries to establish the full facts of this alleged data breach.’

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