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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

More lost data

BBC Wales reports that more than 100 computer disks containing personal information about patients were lost at Glan Clwyd hospital in Denbighshire last month. The disks contained old data, from the period 1995 to 2005 and were to be destroyed. However, they are believed to have been disposed of "inadvertently" with other waste though nobody can say for certain.

There are many questions that need to be answered about this incident. Why were the disks not encrypted or password protected? How much information is on these disks? Have the patients whose details have been lost been notified?

This is yet another example of why personal data should be kept secure. We have seen so many separate pieces of information lost over the past few years and the more data that is kept on us the greater the risk of sensitive information being lost.

I am very concerned that this loss will shake confidence in the health service to hold and process confidential and sensitive data about patients. We need assurances from the Minister as soon as possible that procedures have been put in place to protect remaining records held by the Welsh NHS and that this potentially catastrophic loss cannot reoccur.
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