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Hospital IT team praised for response to NHS cyber attack

PUBLISHED: 13:57 26 May 2017 | UPDATED: 14:06 26 May 2017

File photo of a woman using a laptop. . Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

File photo of a woman using a laptop. . Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

A hospital IT team has been praised for how it handled the cyber attack which hit the NHS two weeks ago.

The Board of Directors at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital (NNUH) were told eight computers were affected out of 4,500, which were then taken off the network quickly.

But particularly celebrated was a £45,000 project which had been carried out to protect against such attacks.

Head of IT Ben Everitt told the Board that some procedures in endoscopy were postponed as the attack affected a PC which controlled some of the washers.

“Through a process about 18 months about we identified some gaps in our cyber security,” Mr Everitt said.

But he said a new set of upgrades were deployed earlier this year and now 85pc of the machines had been covered, with the rest to be completed soon.

Mr Everitt added: “This is the first large scale attack, but it won’t be the last.”

This echoed the fears of the Board of Directors at Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT), who on Tuesday said they were on “very high alert” for another attack.
Leigh Howlett, director of strategy and resources, said the NSFT was largely unaffected but that it scans its systems “continuously”.

“The message that is coming in from central government is to expect more of this,” she said.

“We are on very high alert for cyber attacks.”

At NNUH, Mr Everitt added: “This particular attack came from the NSA in the states and the dark web picked it up.

“It’s just about making sure we are in the best place possible.”

In our region, the James Paget University Hospital (JPUH) was the worst affected, with appointments cancelled and staff working with paper systems.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn was unaffected.

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