NHS 'sorry' over theft of patient records

HEALTH chiefs have apologised after the confidential records of more than 1,000 patients were stolen from a doctor's home.

The personal details of 1,147 people were lost when a laptop computer was stolen from the home of a junior doctor working for Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

The information included names, dates of birth, treatment the patients received and their hospital numbers.

The employee is being disciplined and it is understood they breached regulations by transferring unencrypted patient information onto a personal computer.

Dr David Hepburn, medical director at the trust, which runs Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital, near Cottingham, East Yorkshire, said: "The trust can confirm that a laptop belonging to one of our members of staff has been stolen.

"The laptop, which contained some basic patient details, was stolen from their home in November. However, we do not believe that this information could be used for identity fraud.

"We have written to anyone affected by this to inform them of these incidents and therefore anyone who has not received a letter has no cause for concern."

He added: "The trust takes data protection issues very seriously and this member of staff is currently the subject of a disciplinary process."

One of the victims said she was angry her records had been stolen.

"Some bloke at the end of the road could have got your details now," she said.

Two months ago the Sheffield-based employment services company A4e was fined 60,000 by the Information Commissioner after a laptop containing personal details of thousands of people was stolen from an employee's home.

The computer contained the names, dates of birth, postcodes and any awards of court related to 24,269 people who had sought free advice at Community Legal Advice Centres in Hull and Leicester.