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Lost IT equipment poses patient data protection concern for NHS Tayside

There are concerns lost IT equipment could contain sensitive patient information.
There are concerns lost IT equipment could contain sensitive patient information.

Lost laptops and memory sticks could have put NHS Tayside patients at risk, according to a report revealing a string of health board data breaches.

An internal audit of NHS Tayside found a series of failings which could leave sensitive information open to abuse.

Auditors raised concerns over staff failing to notify bosses of lost equipment containing private information, such as laptop computers, iPads and USB memory sticks.

There were also a significant number who had failed to undertake mandatory training designed to help them safely use mobile devices.

A lack of adequate records of the requisition of items such as USB memory sticks, making their location impossible to track, was also highlighted.

Dr Jean Turner, former executive director of the Scottish Patients Association said: “It is frightening for patients to think that their private information might be out there and they don’t know about it.

“I think it is dreadful that there isn’t a close watch on these devices and people need to understand the rules and regulations around confidentiality.

“These are not toys and they shouldn’t be left lying around.

“It is shocking that people wouldn’t report information that has gone missing if they lose a tablet.”

NHS Tayside has said that an action plan has been “agreed with management to address the identified weaknesses”.

For more on this story, see Friday’s Courier or try our digital edition.

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