Car wash attendant “only looks at” memory stick

Jeremy Phillips

The latest UK health trust to fall foul of data protection norms is the Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which is responsible for the world-famous Addenbrooke’s Hospital. According to the BBC, a memory stick with medical treatment details of 741 patients went missing. The stick, which was privately owned, was discovered by a car wash attendant who, having accessed the contents, was able to establish ownership and return it to the Trust.

The Information Commissioners Office said that the Trust reported the loss of an unencrypted memory stick containing treatment details “after a member of staff left it in an unattended vehicle” towards the end of last year. According to a spokesman for Addenbrooke’s Hospital:

“Following an investigation, it became clear that the information contained on the memory stick was only looked at by the car wash attendant before returning it to the hospital. The Trust was therefore satisfied that patient confidentiality was not compromised. Our staff are constantly being reminded of their duty to protect confidential patient data and not to leave data unattended or unprotected”.

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