Nine NHS trusts have admitted losing patient data, and opposition parties are now calling into to question the future of the centralised IT system.
Around 168,000 people are believed to be affected by the latest breach of data protection rules.
It follows the loss of child benefit details by HM Revenue and Customs, and the misplacement of information concerning three million learner drivers by a DVLA contractor.
Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: “This is further evidence of the Government’s failure to protect the personal information which we provide.
“Following the HMRC and DVLA failures, we will need further steps on the part of the Department of Health to show how their planned electronic patients’ database will protect our medical records.”
Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb added: “The whole culture of data management in the public sector has to change.”
The Department of Health has confirmed that City and Hackney Primary Care Trust lost the clinical details of 160,000 patients after a computer disc failed to arrive at St Leonard’s Hospital in east London.
But it said the data has been encrypted to an “extremely high level of security”, and that confidential information will not be available to identity thieves, even if the disc does fall into the wrong hands.
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