A HOSPITAL has vowed to tighten its security after a review into the theft of a laptop containing patient information.
The computer, containing records of 1,569 patients, was stolen from the Neurophysiology Department at Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax in November.
The hospital treats thousands of patients from Huddersfield.
In a second incident, on January 11, staff found a desk drawer and confidential waste bin had been forced open overnight, although neither contained data which could be matched to a patient.
Now a new report by the hospital trust suggests the theft of the computer, attached to a muscle-scanning device, was carried out by someone with a key fob and codes for the department’s combination lock codes.
The trust has informed police and written to affected patients.
The Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust says it has improved its security measures which include encrypting computers and data held on servers.
Access from the upper floors to the ground floor, where the Neurophysiology Department is, has been restricted, the trust said.
Key codes have been changed and data is now kept in a locked room with steel bars on the windows which is only accessible during normal working hours.
Trust staff have encrypted other equipment containing patient information across the hospital.
The trust has also made recommendations.
The report said: “Medical device purchasing procedures should include a stringent requirement to consider data confidentiality and security.
“Risk assessment of data confidentiality and security should be carried out as a routine part of the planned preventative maintenance programme for medical devices.
“Physical security of the Neurophysiology Department should be reviewed again, no later than June 30, 2011.
“The data encryption and protection policy should be reviewed and must make specific reference to portable computers, which are part of a medical device.
“Information, confidentiality and security should continue to be part of the trust’s mandatory risk training programme.”
A trust spokesman said: “An investigation has been conducted and the laptop and the individual, or individuals, responsible have not been traced.”
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “The matter was reported to police who pursued all active lines of inquiry and have advised the hospital to contact police should any further information come to light.”