NHS Providers chief blames ‘usual NHS bashing’ following global cyber attack

cybersecurity
“It’s worth pointing out that 80 per cent of NHS trusts were not affected. However, 20 per cent were, so clearly we will need to work out what has happened, and learn from this event,” said Chris Hopson, NHS Providers Chief Executive

Services at 61 NHS organisations were disrupted following Friday’s global ransomware attack

[London, UK] Chris Hopson, NHS Providers Chief Executive, has blamed the ‘usual NHS bashing’ following Friday’s global cyber attack that affected 200,000 computer systems in 150 countries, disrupting services at 61 NHS organisations.

Hopson said in a statement: “It’s worth pointing out that 80 per cent of NHS trusts were not affected. However, 20 per cent were, so clearly we will need to work out what has happened, and learn from this event.

“But the quick rush by some to lay the blame on ‘incompetent NHS managers’ is disappointing. It feels like the usual NHS bashing and is unsupported by evidence. This unfortunate blame game may in part be down to the fact that we are in the middle of a general election campaign.”

Meanwhile, security experts are warning that another similar attack is ‘imminent’; the National Crime Agency has advised organisations to not pay any ransom in case they are victims of an attack, given that there is no ‘guarantee’ access to locked files would be ‘restored’.

The ‘blame game’

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is expected to chair a Cobra meeting with Home Secretary Amber Rudd today, but he has not made any statements following the cyber attack. Ben Wallace, UK Cyber Security Minister, has told the BBC this is the responsibility of the Home Office and not Hunt in particular: "It would be wrong to say this only applies to the NHS.”

However, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “There’s this massive cybersecurity crisis that’s been unfolding. Today people will go to GP surgeries, we still don’t know whether all the GP surgeries across the country are going to be affected by this cybersecurity crisis or not and we haven’t had a dickie-bird from Jeremy Hunt.”

Meanwhile, Dame Fiona Caldicott’s Review of Data Security, Consent and Opt-Outs, released last July, has been often cited in the media in the past few days, with many criticising the government’s delay in publishing a response. However, due to pre-election restrictions, the response cannot be published until after 8 June.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon told BBC’s Andrew Marr that NHS trusts were ‘warned’ of cyber attack threats this spring, adding that the government is spending ‘around £50m’ to improve cybersecurity defence in the NHS. Fallon said trusts have also been advised to reduce use of Windows XP; in a statement published on Saturday, NHS Digital said only 4.7% trusts were using this system.