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3/27/2007
04:45 PM
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Stolen Laptops Hold Info On 11,500 Children

Law enforcement agents are searching for three laptops -- holding the names, birth dates, and addresses of child patients -- that were stolen from a National Health Services office in the United Kingdom.

Three laptops containing personal information on 11,500 children were stolen earlier this month from a National Health Services office in the United Kingdom and police are worried the information may fall into the wrong hands.

The computers were taken from Primary Care Trust office on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 21, according to an advisory from the Nottinghamshire County NHS. The laptops contained the names, addresses, and dates of birth of child patients between the ages of 8 months and 8 years old.

"There was no health information or other details on the stolen computer," said Wendy Saviour, chief executive of the Nottinghamshire County NHS, in a written statement. "The information was protected by a password, which reduces the chances of anyone being able to see the information. We have, however, written to all the 9,742 families affected by this theft to inform them of what has happened."

The NHS or National Health Service was set up in the United Kingdom in 1948 to provide health care for citizens based on need, not on the ability to pay. The trust is responsible for planning and paying for health care, including school nursing, dentistry, and home health visits, for 649,173 Nottinghamshire residents.

"We take our responsibility to keep personal information safe very seriously," said Saviour, who added that the theft is being investigated by law enforcement. "Action will be taken to ensure that lessons are learned."

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