The NHS Lost 1.8m Medical Records Last Year -- and Some Ended Up Online

By Gary Cutlack on at

NHS admins and staff are somehow managing to lose around 5,000 copies of confidential patient records every day, meaning some 1.8m supposedly secret health files about our aches, pains and embarrassing personal leakages are going missing every year.

The numbers come from reports of Data Protection Act breaches filed by the Information Commissioner’s Office, covering the 12 month period to July of 2012 and including data on lost patient files from NHS units in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

One particularly poor incident saw the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Foundation fined £325,000 after 69,000 patient files were discovered on old hard drives being offered for sale online, with 232 drives supposedly labelled for destruction accidentally being offered for sale.

Meanwhile, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust was fined £225,000 after it dumped some 100,000 confidential records at a disused site. The records were found and, for some odd reason only the culprits will know, digitised and posted online. [Telegraph]

Image credit: Doctors and nurses from Shutterstock