Hospital sacks manager for losing laptop

Many laptops have been lost by the NHS and other government bodies recently, but it's not often the culprits pay for the mistakes with their jobs.

But that's just what Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust has decided to do after a laptop was stolen in June from the car of a senior manager who was on holiday in Edinburgh.

According to the trust, the stolen laptop held data on several thousand patients, including names, post codes, and upcoming hospital procedures. The computer was password protected but was not encrypted. The trust said at the time that it expected the laptop was stolen to be resold and not for the data it held.

The manager was suspended immediately. After an investigation into the incident, the trust held a disciplinary hearing last week, which lead to the dismissal.

Peter Murphy, chief executive of the trust, said in a statement: "The unanimous decision of the disciplinary panel sends out a clear statement about how seriously the trust takes security and patient confidentiality. I again apologise for the distress the theft of this laptop may have caused."

Murphy also said the trust would have an external group carry out an independent assessment of its own data security procedures.

The Information Commissioner has previously called for charges of criminal negligence when such laptops go missing, as they did earlier this year from a South London hospital.