This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more.X

Information request reveals continued increase in NHS data breaches

Share this article:
Proposed NHS portal raises questions about data security
Proposed NHS portal raises questions about data security

Data breaches in hospitals rose by 20 per cent year-on-year.

According to a Freedom of Information Act request from 55 hospital trusts by Pulse Today, the number of breaches rose from 2,337 in 2011/12 to 2,805 in 2012/13. These included patients being given a different patient's details in error, patient information being given to a relative without their permission, voicemails left to the wrong person, letters left in public meeting rooms and letters sent to patients' previous GPs.

The request found that following a 15 per cent increase in data and confidentiality breaches between 2010/11 and 2011/12, there were 7,138 incidents over the last three years at the 55 trusts.

A spokesperson for the Information Commissioner's Office said: “The health service holds some of the most sensitive information available. This is why it is so important that they look after patients' data correctly and in compliance with the Data Protection Act.

“We will continue to work with the health service to help them keep the personal information they use and store secure.”

Stephen Midgley, vice president of global marketing at Absolute Software, said: “As a public service, the health sector supports over a million patients each day, and this responsibility includes the protection of any patient confidential information. The claims of a member of the public finding a letter in hospital grounds with the clinical diagnosis of another patient's cancer, is simply unacceptable.

“With the NHS facing tough cost saving initiatives and the wider data debate and challenges surrounding the plans to deliver a fully paperless model by 2018, it's essential that the world's largest healthcare system considers the risk impact of data breaches and puts protecting its physical and digital data assets at the top of its priority list.

“There are basic steps organisations can take to protect themselves, and the first is a comprehensive data policy in place from the very beginning. This starts with education, right across the NHS and its staff.”

Share this article:

SC webcasts on demand

This is how to secure data in the cloud


Exclusive video webcast & Q&A sponsored by Vormetric


As enterprises look to take advantage of the cloud, they need to understand the importance of safeguarding their confidential and sensitive data in cloud environments. With the appropriate security safeguards, such as fine-grained access policies, a move to the cloud is as, or more, secure than an on-premise data storage.


View the webcast here to find out more

More in News

StubHub ticketing agency taken for a million pounds

StubHub ticketing agency taken for a million pounds

Police around the world have arrested seven people - thought to have been tied into an international fraud ring - that allegedly defrauded the eBay-owned StubHub online ticketing service of ...

DDoS attacks grow as first DIY kits emerge

DDoS attacks grow as first DIY kits emerge

The latest report from Akamai Technologies has revealed another increase in DDoS attacks and the resurgence of botnets to carry out server-based attacks.

WordPress plugin flaw opens blogs up to cybercriminals

WordPress plugin flaw opens blogs up to cybercriminals

A WordPress plugin called MailPoet - which has been downloaded around 1.7 million times - has placed large numbers of WordPress-based websites at risk of incursion.