Littleborough surgery's patient records stolen

Date published: 22 July 2008

Thousands of patient records have been stolen while they were in storage at an unknown location in the Rochdale area.

The data, belonging to 3,500 patients from Trinity Medical Centre on Winton Street in Littleborough, was taken during a burglary on 12 July.

The stolen records contained personal details and full medical history of patients, which includes names and address and dates of birth of patients.

The information was all contained on a tape which was stored at a site away from the surgery, in accordance with government guidelines.

A spokesman for the Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Primary Care Trust said that this was an isolated incident and they have written to the patients affected to say that it would be 'extremely difficult' for anyone to access the patient records without a password and login details.

Trevor Purt, chief executive of Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Primary Care Trust, commented: “A backup tape from a GP Practice in Rochdale has been stolen whilst being stored off site, in line with Department of Health Guidelines.

"Following consultation with the IT system suppliers, we believe that it would be extremely difficult for anyone to access or use data.

“The PCT has supported the practice in contacting all of its patients and will be reviewing what further security measures could be implemented by practices in the Borough to prevent future losses."

Responding to the news, Rochdale MP Paul Rowen has asked for an enquiry to be made into the loss of personal data. He said: “This is disturbing news and I would like to see an enquiry into the security of people’s personal details and the issues surrounding this. This is the latest in a number of incidents across the country and I am appealing for whoever has stolen these details to return them.

"I shall be raising this with the Health Minister in Parliament as it’s obvious that more guidance needs to be given. People’s personal details going missing is a cause for serious concern and I hope that this can be resolved as soon as possible.

"I was only last week asking Sir Gus O’Donnell, the Head of the Civil Service about how public bodies deal with private information and the lack of resources available to protect them – this is just another example.”

Any patients and members of the public concerned should contact the PCT Patient Advice and Liaison (PALS) team on 0800 121 4430.

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