Confidential memory stick lost

Hundreds of computer memory sticks have been withdrawn following a security breach at Preston Prison.

The information breach occurred on December 30 at HMP Preston after the USB stick – with the password attached to it on a memo note – was lost.

The data stick is still missing and all USB sticks are now being withdrawn across NHS Central Lancashire.

An investigation into the incident is still ongoing, but health chiefs at NHS Central Lancashire have put plans in place to prevent anything similar happening again.

The incident happened when a member of NHS Central Lancashire staff uploaded information using the memory stick, then returned to the administration office and lost the device somewhere en route.

The stick may have contained information of up to 6,360 patients.

However, in some cases, individual patients had more than one entry.

All details relate to patients who are, or who have been, an inmate at Preston Prison.

Following the breach, encrypted devices are being re-issued on a needs basis and staff across the organisation are being reminded about their responsibilities in relation to information security and the use of USB data sticks.

NHS Central Lancashire is undertaking a review of practices within prison healthcare.

The Primary Care Trust staff involved in the incident have been suspended while the investigation is carried out.

An NHS Central Lancashire spokesman said: "A full investigation is ongoing and we plan to make the recommendations public when it is concluded.

"We are withdrawing USB data sticks, and are re-issuing encrypted devices on a needs basis."

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