Thousands of patients’ data found by member of the public


East Sussex NHS Trust has written a letter of apology to more than 3,000 people, after a memory stick containing their personal information was found by a member of the public outside a trust building.

The information was not password protected.

Please remember we all have a responsibility to keep patient information safe and protected at all times, from collection to disposal. Here are some information security tips, depending on where you work in the organisation:

In the office/on the road

  • Don’t discuss sensitive information in public places
  • Where possible, ask patients to confirm personal information
  • Keep portable equipment secure
  • Always use safe haven faxes (see the Trust’s Safe Haven Procedure for more information)
  • Lock offices when unattended
  • Do not disclose sensitive information to a telephone caller without first verifying their identity.

At the computer

  • Choose good system passwords and change them periodically
  • Never share user IDs or passwords
  • Keep Smartcards safe
  • Log off or lock PCs and laptops (by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Delete) when left unattended

Paper documents

  • Keep paper records out of sight and securely stored when not in use
  • Verify postal addresses and mark envelopes ‘private and confidential’
  • Take care when printing confidential information, especially if the printer is not located close by
  • Collect printed documents immediately
  • Do not leave confidential documents in the photocopier!
  • Ensure paper-based personal information is disposed of in the blue confidential waste bins

Electronic documents

  • Only transfer data to removable media if authorised
  • Only use Trust issued laptops and USB sticks (with integral encryption)
  • Use secure email when sending personal information
  • Computer media requires special destruction (contact the ICT Service Desk for advice)

 For more information, please visit the information governance pages on East24.

Published 19th July 2015 

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