A hospital worker at Bellsydke Hospital in Scotland has been suspended after medical records belonging to patients at a secure hospital were found on a USB stick in a supermarket car park.

According to the Daily Record Newspaper, the memory stick allegedly held the criminal history and medical records of some of the patients staying in the Tryst Park Unit of Bellsydke hospital, which provides care for adults with severe mental health difficulties

It was found by a 12 year old boy at the Asda car park in Stenhousemuir, near Falkirk.

An NHS Forth Valley spokesperson said: “We have clear policies in place on the safe use of portable data devices. We can confirm a member of staff has been suspended in connection with this incident.”

Last summer, NHS National Services Scotland awarded a £1m contract to Lumension to nationally enforce security policies governing the storage of data.

The contract for Lumension Device Control was to provide IT departments with complete visibility and control of all storage devices and media connected to their networks, including laptops, USB sticks, CDs and DVDs.

The software also allowed data that has been authorised for storage to be encrypted.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “The Scottish Government set tough new rules for health boards 18 months ago, making it clear that patient-identifiable data must not be stored on unencrypted memory sticks or laptops. £1m was given to make those changes.

“We expect NHS Forth Valley to take appropriate action to deal with this violation of the rules and to ensure it does not happen again.”