A laptop containing the records of more than 5,000 NHS patients has been stolen from an hospital outpatient clinic in the Midlands.
The theft took place at Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley. The theft has only just come to light, although the laptop went missing on 8 January.
The hospital said the machine had the clinical records of anticoagulation patients on it. The records are said to be password protected, and a separate hospital log-in and password is required to operate the laptop, said the hospital.
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West Midlands Police is investigating the theft. Patients have received a letter from the hospital warning them about the loss of their personal details.
The clinic is part of the Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Trust. The Trust last year said it was investing £135,000 in new data encryption software, but it is not believed this system had reached the stolen machine yet.
The Dudley theft follows a series of reported incidents across the NHS, involving stolen and lost laptops and memory sticks over the last 12 months.