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ICO confirms data breach at University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust

Sensitive personal information relating to 87 patients was copied onto an unencrypted memory stick by a medical student and then subsequently lost. The ICO found that the student was not trained properly on induction by the Foundation Trust; the Trust believed the student would have been trained properly in data protection whilst at medical school.

“Medics handle some of the most sensitive personal information possible and it is vital that they understand the need to keep it secure at all times, especially when they are completing placements at several health organisations,” said Sally Anne Poole, acting head of enforcement at the ICO.

“This case highlights the need to ensure data protection training for healthcare providers is built in early on so that it becomes second nature.

“NHS bodies have a duty to make sure their staff – both permanent and temporary – understand their responsibilities on day one in the job.”

Christopher Graham, Information Commissioner, has already raised concerns that the NHS has a “systemic” problem when it came to breaches of the Data Protection Act.

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