September 11, 2008

Medical Records of 15,000 Stolen

Medical records of more than 15,000 patients have been stolen from a GP surgery during a burglary, a primary care trust said yesterday.

The thieves took a safe with computer backup tapes inside containing the personal information of 15,396 people registered at St Paul's Surgery in Winchester, Hampshire.

Hampshire Primary Care Trust said it would be writing to patients to tell them of the theft last weekend but stressed it would be difficult for anyone to access the information.

"We would like to reassure patients registered at the surgery that the chances of anyone being able to do anything untoward with the tapes are very small indeed," it said.

"This is because specialised computer equipment is needed to run the tapes and the information on it is protected by a password. Anyone trying to read the information would also then need to have very advanced computer skills or access to a special computer programme to make any sense of it.

"At this early stage of the investigation, Hampshire Constabulary is keeping an open mind regarding the motive of this crime. However, most incidents of this nature involving GP practices are people looking for drugs."

(c) 2008 Birmingham Post; Birmingham (UK). Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.