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NHS laptop vanishes with 5,000 clinical records

The Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Trust (opens in new tab) has revealed that one of their laptops was stolen on the 8th of January from the outpatient department at Russells Hall Hopsital; the theft is the latest in a string of embarrassing incidents involving records of UK patients.

At the end of last month, the Conservative party revealed that more than 350 government laptops and desktops were unaccounted for.

The laptop (opens in new tab) is known to contain more than 5,000 patient records and has been protected by a password; patients whose records have been lost were sent a letter to inform them of the theft and that the data can't be accessed straight away.

Before the laptop was stolen, the trust had already purchased data encryption software to protect data on laptops, computers, PDAs and memory stick which makes it more difficult for third parties to recover data even if they have access to the data files.

Late last year, the HMRC lost 25 million child benefit records on two unencrypted CDROMs in the post and the details of 3 million UK driving test candidates went missing in the US.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.