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back to article Hospital data boob: Records left in bin room got binned

Bungling hospital staff accidentally destroyed patient data after a worker put 10,000 records in the wrong room, an investigation by the Information Commissioner's Office [ICO] revealed today. The lost records were boxed up and put in a ward waste disposal room because there wasn't enough space in the proper storage room, the …

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Every cloud...

At least the waste disposal procedures are efficient.

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This is good, isn't it?

Nobody is going tp leave it on a train now.

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Maybe

If they haven't been oficially destroyed though it's possible some went missing before the asumed destruction, and hence leak out that way - they seem to have assumed that because they were l;eft in a disposal room, and aren't there now that they were destroyed.

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Gold badge
Coat

You've done it now, tempting fate like that.

Next week: "Destroyed" Hospital records FOUND ON TRAIN!!111!!! Pictures at 11.

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Alternatively....

Alternatively, if it's just printout of computer files, they could just offer a reward for the return of the USB stick with the same data on it, that they lost a while ago....

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Bronze badge

Ward waste tends to be incinerated. If the hospital were following normal procedures then you can be pretty sure the documents were destroyed.

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too efficient

This sort of thing happens with the drive for over-efficiency.

Sometimes having more rooms than you normally need can save many times the cost when the circumstance comes around.

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Anonymous Coward

Hence the policy for leaving USB sticks in trains, in pubs, on the pavement, etc to provide an off-site backup capability!

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FAIL

"The ICO ruled that the trust had breached the Data Protection Act by accidentally destroying the archived records and has ordered it to take action to ensure that staff are aware of data protection policies."

How many times has this been done so far?

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FAIL

and yet still noone has had their hands cut off!

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Coat

Hospital data boob

So this isn't some new form of wearable storage device?

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Coat

At least...

Nobody had a mass-storage-tectomy...

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Anonymous Coward

No Civil Service careers were harmed

The ICO are rubbish.

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Facepalm

Jobsworth

No room in the secure archive? Hmm, okay, I'll just put these into waste disposal. They'll be perfectly safe there I'm sure!

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Stop

Why bother with a bigger room?

Why not swap out the filing cabinets for a scanner and an old machine with a big hard-drive?

Bolt everything to the floor, disconnect the usb sockets, dont bother with a network connection and you wont have any problems with the data going walkies!

Next time you run out of space, just buy a bigger hard-drive, copy the old data across and swap out the old disk, once you have checked you have copied all the data over you should then take a standard steel drill and put a hole through the old drive casing & platters.

Data security is only as complicated as you make it.

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Mushroom

its more complicated than that

"take a standard steel drill and put a hole through the old drive casing & platters."

Although this would in my opinion destroy the data beyond retrieval , It wouldnt meet current standards. Mainly because you you didnt pay through the nose to have someone else do it - the difference being that person has a government EEE certificate.

I think they shred the drives , then feed them to shark with a frikkin laser on its head , that is then sent out sea 10 miles and detonated. This ensures safe data destruction.

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No it's not good

What if it was paper discipline documents. Yes that machine was properly maintained oops ? Is that patient a drug seeker .

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Anonymous Coward

Hrm, let me guess the outcome. £10 suspended fine from the Information Commissioner, and a statement from the hospital that procedures are being put in place and lessons have been learned? Am I close?

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Big Brother

Fairly close

Except for the fine.

- It doesn't look like that was one. Or a statement required from the hospital, either.

I wonder how these records were destroyed ?- They're probably sitting in a skip waiting to be taken to land fill, still.

BB icon - He'd know how to look after records.

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Silver badge

no

You're off by 10 Pounds.

Sorry, my US keyboard doesn't have that funny looking L, but does have the funny looking S.

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Go

US Keyboard does - sort of...

Type Alt+0163 to insert the £ sign

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Facepalm

Could have been worse...

They are also short of room in wards, so they could have put some patients in there as well.

Perhaps they did.....

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And what hasn't been said

Darent Valley Hospital is a completely new built PFI building that opened in 2000. Work out how the records storage was inadequate.

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easy

Opened in 2000 probably means designed in 1995, size of storage halved on plans in 1996 in a drive to reduce costs, because "_surely_ we'll be paperless by the time we open!"

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A big part of the data retention headache...

...is the ever broadening criteria for what has to be kept and for how long.

Here in Australia, it's now necessary to retain documentation on kids for up to 21 years, medical , childcare, schooling, anything "official".

@Alan F

Hmm, 9/11, 2001 perhaps? Routine site access logs once held for 3 months suddenly shifting to 7 years plus retention alone could do it? Rinse repeat for OR swab logs; A budget cut which slowed down the process of moving records to microfiche?

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licences and points

Require managers to have licences to manage hospitals or any public service even if outsourced.

Stick a point on each managers licence down the path when the data was lost - no excuses - data is lost you get a point minimum.

Twelve points and you lose the right to work for any public service for N years. We already force builders, gas, leccies and drivers etc. to carry cards why not public officials we supposedly trust with our deepest medical details?

The above scheme also provides more incentive for higher ups to ensure those below follow the rules as they will collect points faster if they dont have good crontol of staff below them.

Oh, this only applies to managers so no cards for cleaners, secretaries, nurses etc :-)

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Bronze badge

At least things are getting better.

Back in 1980 I was seriously injured while on holiday. The hospital asked for the name and address of my GP so they could send on all the records when I was discharged. On consulting my GP a short while afterwards I found that he had no record of my injuries. He contacted the hospital and it turned out that they had, for some reason posted the records to the wrong address. He asked for them to send another copy, but it turned out they had posted the originals without keeping a copy. The address they had used did not exist, they seemed to have mix up two addresses. So the odds are that my records sat in a dead letter office for a while and were then destroyed.

No backup copies. Posting originals. Not bothering with recorded or tracked delivery for important original documents. Can you imagine what the ICO would make of that today?

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FAIL

Accidently?

The records weren't accidently destroyed, they were deliberately destroyed. They had been placed in the waste room, therefore, they were declared to be waste. The waste room operatives therefore duely accepted this waste and destroyed it.

If it's not destined for the bin, don't put it in a bin bag, as I said to somebody years ago who lost most of their clothes that way.

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Anonymous Coward

For keyboards without a funny looking L, there is always Charmap.exe.

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