Cyber security

New strategy set to boost NHS cyber security

Patients up and down the country are set to benefit from improved protection as the Government gears up to publish its new Cyber Security Strategy for Health and Social Care.

The new plan, which will be fully released this summer, sets out how to boost cyber resilience across the health and care industry by the end of the decade, in a move that the Government say will further insulate sensitive patient information and give service-users peace of mind when accessing NHS care and treatment.

The vision details five key tenets to maximise security, minimise risk and optimise mobility following any incidents that occur. They include:

  • Identifying the areas in which disruption would cause the most harm to patients.
  • Uniting the sector so it can fully harness the potential benefit of national resources and expertise.
  • Building on the existing culture in order to keep leaders engaged, ensure the cyber workforce continues to grow and be recognised, and the general workforce receives basic training.
  • Embedding cyber security into the framework of new technologies.
  • Giving health and care organisations the support they need to respond to cyber incidents effectively.

To ensure the strategy can meet its targets, national cyber security teams will also work in tandem with local and regional healthcare organisations – this work will include modernising the Data Security and Protection Toolkit, strengthening the NHS England Cyber Security Operations Centre, and publishing an extensive review of cyber security in adult social care.

Health Minister Lord Markham said: “We’re harnessing the power of technology to deliver better, safer care to people across the country – but at the same time it’s crucial we’re also bolstering the defences of our health and care services.

“This new strategy will be instrumental to ensure every organisation in health and adult social care is set up to meet the challenges of the future. This is an important step to ensure we’re building an NHS which is sustainable and fit for the future, with patients at the centre.”

NHS Providers' Deputy Chief Executive, Saffron Cordery, added: “Trust leaders will welcome this step to address the threat of cyber attacks, which pose a risk to patients. Keeping patients safe is their number one priority. As digital working in the NHS expands, these types of security measures are vital.

"Many trust leaders have had National Cyber Security Centre board training and are working hard to meet statutory and recommended standards. However, trusts need adequate funding to properly address the growing risk of cyber attacks, which includes updating old and unsupported legacy software.” 

National Health Executive, Jan/Feb, Cover

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