UK medical practice suffers data loss

A medical clinic in Dudley has come under fire after it emerged that patient records and unused prescription forms were left abandoned in the car park directly adjacent to the practice.

The data loss appears to be one of the most basic possible, although it is not known whether the records were accidentally or deliberately discarded. The Dudley News reports that disaster was only averted because the files were recovered by a patient of the clinic and not picked up by a malicious third party.

By losing not only patient records, which could allow identity theft to occur, but also a prescription pad, the clinic would have been giving criminals the chance to forge an order for prescription drugs that could easily be sold and misused.

The patients whose details were left in the car park have been notified and most have reacted angrily to the news of the data loss.

All medical practices and clinics are charged with the protection of patient information, but this instance of data loss has severely damaged the level of trust that local people place in the clinic in question.

Two doctors who were responsible for the lost files and prescription pad issued statements to express their regret over the incident. Dr Touseef Safdar said that the practice would be examining its policies and practices that govern the handling of patient data to make sure that this is an isolated mistake.

The Dudley Primary Care Trust was notified of the data loss and it is said to be investigating the incident. A spokesperson said that it was working in tandem with the clinic in order to get to the bottom of the data loss, in addition to addressing any internal flaws which could have led to the loss.

It is possible that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) will be notified of this incident, as although it is a relatively small scale data loss, the public manner in which it was revealed is likely to require the clinic and its governing body to inform the proper authorities.

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