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NHS Lambasted by ICO Over Data Losses

The National Health Service is the worst organisation in the UK when it comes to protecting sensitive data, privacy watchdog the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has revealed.

The ICO reported the NHS had suffered more data losses than any other organisation, with a total of 287 data breaches since the end of 2007. This accounts for almost 30 per cent of all cases of lost data in the country.

However, Richard Vautrey, vice chairman of British Medical Association's GPs committee, said that the data breaches indicated an openness on the part of the NHS about confessing to security breaches.

In a statement to the BBC, Vautrey said: “So many people have access to data and often human error is to blame. There is an increased attempt to be open and honest about what happens to data.”

According to ICO's deputy commissioner David Smith, the NHS reported 113 data breaches were caused due to stolen data or hardware.

Meanwhile, privacy groups and other organisations which rely heavily on public data welcomed the improvement in the Data Protection Act, under which the IOC will be able to impose fines up to £500,000 on those organisations which don't take data protection seriously.