NHS magazine reveals card loss bungle

Pulse, a magazine that targets GP, has revealed that more than 4000 smartcards that are used to access NHS electronic systems and other appliances have gone missing since they were introduced back in 2005.

Data obtained under the freedom of information (FOI) act showed that 4,147 smartcards have been lost, 142 of which were deliberately stolen.

Like bank cards though, these cards cannot be used without their corresponding six digit Personal Identification Numbers (PIN).

More worryingly, 10 percent of the NHS entities that replied to the FOI act said they were unaware of how many cards were actually missing.

More than 430,000 cards have been issued since the beginning of the deployment with more than 750,000 cards expected to be shipped to NHS staff over the next few years.

The NHS is the world's largest health organisation and the third largest employer after the Chinese army and the Indian railways.

Speaking to the BBC, Cambridge University IT security expert, Professor Ross Anderson, added that "You can't expect stuff to remain confidential if a few hundred thousand people have access.”