NHS hospital reports loss of six laptops
Six laptops containing patient details have been stolen from St. George's Hospital, Tooting, South London. The six machines were removed from a locked cabinet inside a secure room in June, and contained names, dates of birth, postcodes and medical notes of 20,000 patients. The news comes in the same week as Hazel Blears' laptop was stolen from secure premises.
St. George's is one of the largest and busiest NHS hospitals in the UK. It appears that failure of core IT systems made it necessary to put patient data on the laptops. No therapeutic data were stored on them, and the laptops themselves were password-protected. The hospital has apologised and informed all affected patients. This is one of the swiftest reports of its kind – often, months pass before laptop theft is disclosed to the public.
Chief Executive David Astley said: "We offer all our patients our sincere apologies for putting their confidential information at risk, although we could not anticipate a determined thief who was prepared to force open a filing cabinet and locked drawers to get to the laptops. We believe the data will almost certainly be wiped by the thief so he can get a quick sale."