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Monday 19th August 2019

NHS hospitals computer virus warning

13th July 2009

An investigation by More4 news has shown that high numbers of viruses contaminated NHS computer systems last year.


Over 8,000 viruses affected NHS financial trusts during 2007/08. Sheffield Teaching Hospitals foundation trust had 800 of its 7,000 computers infected with the Conficker B virus, which resulted in the cancellation of some appointments.

The trust’s informatics director David Whitham said: "We cannot be certain how the virus entered the network but at around the same time as the virus became evident the automatic Microsoft update process had been temporarily disabled following problems with some PCs providing supporting information in theatres."

In 2008 a virus infected computers at Barts and the London NHS trust and caused the cancellation of appointments because staff had to enter data manually.

A report into the problem found that anti-virus software had not been installed correctly and the event was "entirely avoidable".

A Department of Health spokesman stated that the electronic patient records systems supplied through the national programme for IT were "protected by the highest levels of access controls and other security measures".

He said that local NHS trusts had legal responsibility to ensure that data protection regulations were carried out.


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