Hospital USB stick found in car park

Unencrypted USB

An unencrypted USB stick containing medical records from a secure hospital in Scotland has been found in a supermarket car park.

The records came from the Tryst Park unit at Bellsdyke Hospital, near Falkirk, which treats people over 18 who have severe and enduring mental health problems.

It was found by a 12-year-old boy outside an Asda store in Stenhousemuir and is now back in the hands of the hospital, however a member of staff has been suspended in relation to the incident.

It is not clear what data was held on the USB stick but reports suggest it contained the criminal pasts of some of the more violent patients as well as details on staff at the unit.

Dr Iain Wallace, medical director of NHS Forth Valley, said in a statement: "We have clear policies in place on the safe use of portable data devices."

"We are currently assessing the data on the memory stick which has been returned to us, and are in the process of contacting patients and their relatives to offer reassurance and to let them know we are doing everything possible to discover how this incident has occurred."

This latest NHS data breach comes just a week after the deputy commissioner at the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) claimed the NHS was the worst offender when it came to data security.

David Smith claimed the organisation was responsible for a third of all data breaches in the UK almost 300 recorded over two years and that it could come under the spotlight from the ICO in the future.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.