“The news that the NHS North Central London health authority has lost a laptop containing sensitive details of 8.63 million people plus records of 18 million hospital visits, operations and procedures further highlights that authorities must improve their approach to records management to correspond with the law.
“Earlier this year the NHS Liverpool Community Health lost the medical histories of 31 children and their mothers during a premises move. Shortly afterwards the ICO put its foot down when the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence could not find sensitive files and did not know if they had been lost or destroyed.
“All public authorities handle sensitive data and need to ensure that they have robust policies and processes in place for managing, storing and tracking information. This is not just good practice; the public have a right to expect that information about them is protected.
“Sound information management (knowing what information exists and where it is at any point) is fundamental to the preservation and protection of any public organisation. The price of further failures will be the reputation of the entire sector.”