Lead Articles

More Than 40,000 Medical Records Lost by East Midlands Ambulance Service

Medical records of more than 40,000 patients have been lost by the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) NHS Trust at its headquarters in Nottingham.

Around 42,000 electronic documents, detailing names, addresses, contact details and information about patients’ medical conditions are stored on a floppy disk which has now been lost.

EMAS confirmed that the floppy disk contains information on patients who had been treated by the ambulance service between September and November 2012

EMAS confirmed that the floppy disk contains copies of handwritten reports on patients who had been treated by the ambulance service between September and November 2012, and that the storage device can only be accessed by using a specific piece of hardware, which is no longer being manufactured.

The chief executive of EMAS, Sue Noyes, said: “It is extremely unfortunate that this incident has occurred, particularly as, during this financial year, we are replacing the current computerised storage system to strengthen security arrangements.

“Therefore it is unlikely that the information stored on the missing cartridge can be viewed by anyone outside of the organisation”.

“We have taken a proactive approach to report this because we are an open and transparent service and we know it is our duty to inform people when such an incident occurs.

“We are certain the data can only be read via specific hardware which we have in our premises, and which is no longer in production i.e. it is obsolete.

“Therefore it is unlikely that the information stored on the missing cartridge can be viewed by anyone outside of the organisation”.

“You would think that an NHS Trust would have more safeguards in place for patient data protection. it’s staggering that such important pieces of data are stored on a floppy disk”.

Noyes also admitted that there is a possibility of the device still being on the ambulance service’s premises at Beechwood Fire Station in Nottingham and confirmed that EMAS has launched an internal investigation.

Second year medical student, Anna Jowett, told Impact: “You would think that an NHS Trust would have more safeguards in place for patient data protection. it’s staggering that such important pieces of data are stored on a floppy disk”.

Nottinghamshire Police confirmed that it had been asked to assist with the investigation.

Jacob Bentley

Image: Chris Sampson via Flickr

Follow Impact News on Twitter and Facebook

Categories
Lead ArticlesNews

Leave a Reply