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Royal Cornwall Hospital laptop theft prompts ID theft concerns

Laptop contained names, addresses and bank account details of 10,000 NHS workers.

A laptop containing the personal and financial information of 10,000 NHS staff has been stolen from a hospital in Cornwall.

The computer, which stored staff names, addresses and bank details was taken from the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust. The Trust handles the payroll for thousands of NHS workers across the country. The laptop was stolen from locked and alarmed premises on the site of the hospital in Truro, it is not thought to have contained patient data.

A spokesman for the Trust said that staff had been warned to alert their banks about the theft.

"Although it is believed the theft was opportunistic and not for the purpose of obtaining the information stored on the computer, as a precaution staff have been advised to contact their banks to advise them of the theft and to consider registration with a fraud prevention service," the spokesman said in a statement.

Security experts said that organisations need to take more care in guarding sensitive information from theft.

"What is becoming increasingly clear today is that the British public are crying out for organisations to be more responsible with their personal data," said Jamie Cowper, European marketing director at PGP.

"However, what this particular case shows is that - while laptop thefts will inevitably continue to occur - organisations are now beginning to realise the benefits of being upfront about data breaches when they happen."

He said that the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust should be commended for its swift response and notification to employees.

"It's good to see organisations starting to view this as the best course of action, even though they are still under no legal obligation to do so," said Cowper.

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