The Information Commissioner (IC) has issued another warning to NHS bodies that they must take more security measures to safeguard sensitive personal data. Read it here.

As a whole, the NHS is the worst offender in the country when it comes to reporting losses of data and trusts are suffering from more and more enforcement action by the IC. Recent cases include the loss of unencrypted memory sticks; unsecure medical records departments; the theft of laptops and in one case a ward handover sheet was left on a bus for everyone to read!

Security really is a big issue. Are your medical records secured safely? Do you allow paper records, laptops and storage devices off site? The IC will shortly have increased powers to enter hospitals and search and is being given the power to fine offenders. The level of the fine has yet to be decided – but could be up to 10 per cent of turnover.

It is vital that the NHS manages data properly and has in place proper information management and governance controls. These must be audited for review and compliance. The NHS is also facing more requests for information in the light of recent adverse press coverage and in the run up to a general election.