Fix NHS gaps or face more attacks – ex cyber chief

A leading cybersecurity expert has warned that the NHS remains vulnerable to further cyber-attacks unless it updates its computer systems.

This stark assessment comes in the wake of a major ransomware attack that has severely disrupted healthcare services across London.

Prof Ciaran Martin, the founding CEO of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), told the BBC: “I was horrified, but not completely surprised. Ransomware attacks on healthcare are a major global problem.”

NHS England said it was increasing its cybersecurity resilience and had invested £338m in the past seven years addressing this issue.

But Prof Martin’s warnings suggest more urgent action may be needed.

A recent British Medical Association report, external highlighted the NHS’s ageing IT infrastructure, revealing that doctors waste 13.5 million hours annually due to outdated systems – equivalent to 8,000 full-time medics’ time.

The 3 June cyber-attack, which Prof Martin described as one of the most serious in British history, targeted Synnovis, a pathology testing organisation, severely affecting services including at Guy’s, St Thomas’, King’s College and Evelina London Children’s Hospitals.

NHS England declared it a regional incident, resulting in 4,913 acute outpatient appointments and 1,391 operations postponed and major data security concerns.

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Source: BBC News