Friday 16 September 2011

1.6m patients' records on CD sent to landfill


The personal information of 1.6 million people has been put at risk after a CD was sent to a landfill site by an NHS trust by mistake, a watchdog said. The Eastern and Coastal Kent Primary Care Trust put the CD, which contained the name, address, date of birth, NHS number and GP of about 1.6 million people, in a filing cabinet during an office move. But no one told staff, who sent the cabinet to the landfill site. It has not been recovered, the Information Commissioner's Office said. Related articles £59m bill for flu pandemic that never happened Search the news archive for more stories The trust said it would now take action to bring in clear policies and procedures for moving office, improve staff training and boost security against unauthorised and unlawful processing, accidental loss and damage of personal records. The trust's chief executive, Ann Sutton, said: "When planning the office move, the security of the CD was considered and it was deemed appropriate to store it in the filing cabinet concerned. Although communication was established with the project manager co-ordinating the move, the existence of the CD was not communicated, leading to the disposal of the filing cabinet." A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "There is absolutely no excuse for breaches leading to the loss of sensitive and personal data... Having set clear standards for NHS organisations to adhere to on data handling, they must ensure that staff understand and follow that guidance."