Camden primary care trust has been given until the end of the month to improve the security of personal information it holds or risk being held in contempt of court.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has taken enforcement action against the PCT after computers containing 2,500 people’s names, addresses and diagnoses were left behind a skip in the grounds of St Pancras Hospital last August. The computers, which were not encrypted, were removed from the scene without authorisation and were never recovered.

The PCT has been served with an enforcement notice for failing to take appropriate measures to safeguard the security of people’s personal details. Assistant information commissioner Mick Gorrill said: “This incident… will no doubt damage public trust in the NHS locally.” He said he was increasingly concerned about the way some NHS organisations dispose of sensitive patient information.

Camden PCT chief executive Rob Larkman said: “NHS Camden sets itself incredibly high standards when it comes to patient confidentiality. Unfortunately on this occasion we fell below our high standards by inadequately disposing of a number of obsolete computers.

“As a result of the incident we implemented a root and branch review of our procedures and training on data protection and computer disposal which are being introduced to every member of staff at the PCT.”