Thousands of NHS smartcards missing

THOUSANDS of NHS smartcards giving computer access to patient records have been lost or stolen, figures showed today.A total of 4,147 smartcards have been reported lost or stolen - 1,240 since January 2007.

THOUSANDS of NHS smartcards giving computer access to patient records have been lost or stolen, figures showed today.

A total of 4,147 smartcards have been reported lost or stolen - 1,240 since January 2007.

The data was released by Connecting for Health which is overseeing the Government's NHS IT upgrade after a request from Pulse magazine.

The magazine has been pursuing the figures under the Freedom of Information Act from individual NHS trusts.


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NHS staff use the cards to access confidential patient records by keying in their own six digit pin code.

Smartcards have now been issued to 429,691 NHS staff as of January 1 2008, with the number of users eventually expected to top 1.2 million.

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A spokesman for Connecting for Health said it is confident there have been no security breaches.

He said: "A lost/stolen card is required to be reported immediately and its loss/theft recorded and cancelled so it cannot be used and a record kept.

"And, of course, it cannot be used in the first place, even if found or stolen, without the unique pin number - known only to the authorised holder."

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