The case of the East Midlands Ambulance Service's lost data

The East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) NHS Trust has lost a data cartridge containing 42,000 electronic copies of scanned handwritten Patient Report Forms.

EMAS believes the records, which were lost from its Beechdale divisional headquarters in London, lost cover the time period from September 2012-November 2012.

The Trust says there is the small possibility that cartridge is still on its premises due to its very small size and claims to be conducting a thorough search of the building.

According to EMAS, the incident has already been reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), as well as NHS organisations that monitor and regulate its service and Nottinghamshire Police.

“We take our responsibility for the security and confidentiality of the information we record and store very seriously and express sincere apologies for a patient data loss incident,” claimed Sue Noyes, the Trust’s chief executive.

“We are certain the data can only be read via specific hardware which we have in our premises and which is no longer in production, i.e. it is obsolete. Therefore it is unlikely that the information stored on the missing cartridge can be viewed by anyone outside of the organisation,” she added.

EMAS “in process of upgrading security”

In her statement, Noyes points out that EMAS is replacing its current computerised storage system with the aim of strengthening its security this financial year.

“We have taken a proactive approach to report this because we are an open and transparent service and we know it is our duty to inform people when such an incident occurs,” she concluded.