UK Government sets out strategy to protect NHS from cyberattacks

UK Government sets out strategy to protect NHS from cyberattacks

Patients will benefit from bolstered protection to the nation’s health and adult social care services as a new cybersecurity strategy for England is published.

The cybersecurity strategy for health and adult social care sets out a plan to promote cyber-resilience across the sector by 2030, protecting services and the patients they support. This will ensure services are better protected from cyberthreats, further securing sensitive information and ensuring patients can continue accessing care safely as the NHS continues to cut waiting lists.

Technology is transforming how people access health and care services and information. Over 40 million people now have an NHS login, helping them book appointments, track referrals and order medications online. Over 50% of social care providers now use a digital social care record, helping staff share vital information about the people they care for. As digital systems are adopted to improve health and care services for people across the country, it is vital the health and care sector has the tools it needs to better protect patients’ information.

This new strategy will ensure health and adult social care organisations across England are set up to meet the challenges of the future – from identifying areas in the sector which are most vulnerable, to better utilising resources and expertise across the country to defend against cyberattacks.

Lord Markham, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care, 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.”

The health and social care sector has made good progress in recent years, by using the increasing number of cyberdefence and response tools it has at its disposal. The sector is now much better protected from attacks than it was at the time of the WannaCry cyberattack in 2017.

NHS trusts now benefit from a direct link to NHS England’s Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC), providing real-time protection against any suspicious activity to approximately 1.7 million devices across the NHS network. Around 21 million malicious emails are also blocked every month.

The vision includes five key pillars to minimise the risk of cyberattacks and other cybersecurity issues and to improve response and recovery following any incidents across health and social care systems including adult social care, and primary and secondary care.

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