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Plans to strengthen NHS cyber security in major £150m deal

The government has announced it will spend £150m on NHS cyber security after it was found the health service’s cyber resilience was inadequate in light of last year’s WannaCry cyber-attack.

The package deal with Microsoft will ensure all NHS systems are using the most up-to-date software with the latest security settings to help prevent future cyber-attacks.

The government has already invested £60m to address cyber security weaknesses but will now spend a further £150m over the next three years to improve the NHS’s digital resilience.

This will include the setting up of a new digital security operations centre to prevent, detect and respond to incidents. The centre will enable NHS Digital to react to cyber-attacks more quickly and allow local trusts to detect threats, isolate infected machines and eliminate the threat before it spreads.

Other measures included in the cyber security package include a £21m upgrade to firewalls at trauma centre hospitals and ambulance trusts; new powers for the CQC to inspect NHS trusts’ cyber and data security; and a text messaging alert system to ensure providers have access to accurate information, even when internet and email services are down.

Health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt commented: “We know cyber-attacks are a growing threat, so it is vital our health and care organisations have secure systems which patients trust.

“We have been building the capability of NHS systems over a number of years, but there is always more to do to future-proof our NHS against this threat.

“This new technology will ensure the NHS can use the latest and most resilient software available – something the public rightly expect.”


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