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Data leaks most serious in NHS

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More serious data breaches have taken place within the NHS than any other UK organisation since the end of 2007, according to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

A total of 287 breaches were reported, accounting for more than 30% of the total number, deputy commissioner David Smith told the Infosec security conference.

Mr Smith said that 113 incidents occurred due to stolen data or hardware, with a further 82 cases of lost data or hardware.

Mr Smith said the results could be skewed as not all private sector firms shared the public sector culture of reporting all breaches to the ICO.

The NHS is currently introducing digital patient records

Richard Vautrey, the deputy chair of the British Medical Association’s GPs committee, said: “We need to keep their breaches in perspective.”

He suggested the high proportion of breaches reflected the NHS’s size, complexity and openness, and said it was important to allow people to opt out of having their data stored on national databases if they wanted to.

Since April, the ICO has had the power to fine organisations up to £500,000 for serious data breaches.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • THIS is the reason I've opted out of the Summary Care Records scheme - not that the government/NHS made it easy to do so. The form needed to opt out was buried deep in the web-site and I only got it because a friend sent it to me. My husband is also a nurse and he won't opt out. He says that he has nothing to hide so doesn't see the point of opting out. My view is that the government and large organisations just can't be trusted to keep our personal information safe and secure. That's been proven time and time again. I've already had my details go missing along with millions of others who claimed Child Benefit. I don't want that happening again.

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  • i fully agree with the above and will be doing the same. it is interesting how hard it is to opt out of the system and that leads me to think the govt. has a vested interest in the scheme.

    i would be interested to see the data that outlines the amount/number of patients this scheme is likely to benefit.

    my doubts arise as the new "labour" govt's only link with any vaguely socialist agenda seems to be the need to monitor the citizens of this country. viva stalin!

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