NHS must embrace Cyber Security in order to maintain patient care levels

The Government’s ten year plan for the NHS has placed internet technology and digital consultations at the very heart of modernizing and streamlining the National Health Service.

Simon Stevens the Chief Executive of NHS England has promised to replace the “outdated and unsustainable“ existing operational platform with a range of online efficiencies which would significantly improve patient care and put into place huge cost savings.

Echoing Mr Stevens launch the Prime Minister claimed that the new plan marked an historic moment for patients across the country in that it would allow the UK to compete with the most advanced global medical centres.

More importantly the latest internet technology coupled with smart phone availability and capability would allow patients greater control over monitoring their conditions, accessing immediate care and participation in virtual surgeries.

This dramatic overhaul of the existing hospital and GP practice administrative structure will require a major digital upgrade for the entire health service and it will require a complete rethink on implementing effective and efficient cyber security solutions. A new vastly improved NHS which is more dependent on internet technology and digital solutions will inevitably become vulnerable to malware attacks and cyber crimes.

The new plan has placed improving patient care front and centre and this will impact on the dynamics of how NHS directors, CCG commissioners, GPs and their managers, must evaluate and implement effective security systems throughout their premises.

In the last 12 months the need to address and protect vulnerable hospitals and medical institutions has never been more urgent and in developing a country-wide plan the call has been to ensure that all hospital personnel and GP practice staff are engaged in training and IT awareness to provide an integrated way forward.This is the theme that has been promoted by Dan Taylor head of NHS Digital and his team in trying to deliver the best CareCERT services to healthcare facilities.

Hospitals and GP practices must upgrade their networks and they must put into operation effective on-going cyber security training programmes to ensure that the new NHS plan can work effectively.