NAO report criticises Hunt over failure to prepare for NHS cyber attack
Jeremy Hunt was warned about the risks of cyber attacks on the NHS a year before the devastating WannaCry attack, a damning report by the National Audit Office has revealed.
Reports by the National Data Guardian and the Care Quality Commission warned the Department of Health in July 2016 that cyber attacks could jeopardise access to critical patient record systems.
However, the Department didn't publish its formal response to the recommendations until July 2017, two months after the Wannacry ransomware attack.
The NAO report also concluded that all the NHS organisations hit by the cyber attack could have taken relatively simple action to protect themselves, but that the Department for Health had no formal mechanisms in place to assess whether trusts were properly prepared for a cyber attack.
Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Judith Jolly commented:
“This damning report shows Jeremy Hunt was warned about the risks of cyber-attacks on the NHS but failed to act.
“Such a simple cyber-attack should never have been allowed to bring the NHS to its knees in this way.
“Thousands of patients had their operations cancelled due to the government’s complacency.
“Ministers must ensure lessons are learned and that NHS trusts have the resources to defend themselves against future cyber-attacks.”
Local Liberal Democrat Frank Little commented:
"Top marks to our devolved NHS administration in Wales for taking cyber-security seriously and thus avoiding the crippling attack on NHS computers in England."