A BRIEFCASE containing confidential patient details was stolen in a burglary at a doctor’s home.

The case contained letters to 18 patients’ GPs about their hospital treatment.

Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust revealed the breach of its data protection rules in its annual report.

It said the letters were copies, so no appointments were affected.

Chief executive Dr Gordon Coutts has written to each patient affected to apologise.

The burglary was reported to police on March 23. No arrests have been made.

A hospital trust spokesman said although staff were not allowed to take whole records home, from time to time clinicians took paperwork home to complete.

The spokesman said: “The doctor was not disciplined because they took reasonable precautions to look after the information.

“It was in a briefcase and the clinician and their family were asleep when the burglary occurred.”