Over 4,100 National Health Service (NHS) have gone missing according to Pulse, the weekly magazine for GPs. These cards give members of the staff, varying levels of access to patient records.
News about the smartcards that are either lost or stolen has come from Connecting for Health (CfH), the IT agency for NHS, under the Freedom of Information Act. No action has been taken by NHS trusts against staff members who have lost their card, according to Pulse. The missing cards have raised security concerns especially because they allow the user to gain access to systems like Electronic Prescription Service.
Ross Anderson, the computer security specialist at the University of Cambridge said: "You can't expect such a large network to remain confidential if a few hundred thousand people have access. There will be several hundred at any time who've lost their smart cards and thousands who leave terminals logged on or share cards in other ways," he warned.
A representative for CfH said: "There is no evidence that any security breaches have ever arisen from lost or stolen cards. All records are subject to an audit trail which gives detailed information on who accessed any record and through what process."
"Contrary to some media reports, smart card loss or theft is less than one per cent nationally," according to CfH.
The British Medical Association has brought the matter to Ben Bradshaw, the health minister, asking to stop the card rollout until further results of the pilot projects are announced.