NHS IT Systems Experience Downtime of About 1300 Hours in the Last Three Years

July 12, 2018  Source: DigitalHealth.net 169

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request revealed that the NHS trusts in England suffered a downtime of about 55 days in the last three years on account of IT outages.

The FoI request was sent by enterprise IT firm Intercity Technology to as many as 143 NHS trusts in England. Out of these, 80 responded, of which 25 reported outages across their IT systems during the period from January 2015 to February 2018.

Security breaches were seen as the cause of the problem in 14 trusts out of the 25. The infamous WannaCry ransomware attack and the Locky and Zepto viruses shut IT systems offline for two weeks in the past 3 years. Some of the IT systems were disconnected as a precautionary measure against the WannaCry ransomware spread in May 2017, noted Intercity Technology. Overall, 18 security breaches were reported during this period.

An unnamed trust reported an average of one breach every year whereas another experienced an unauthorized device being plugged into its network which resulted in two hospital wards going offline for two hours.

Ian Jackson, chief commercial officer at Intercity Technology said: “NHS trusts across England are currently being pushed to the limit. It’s not surprising that they often don’t have the resources to dedicate 24/7 support to their IT systems, and the majority of these breaches could be an unfortunate consequence of this.”

The NHS trusts in Wales and Manchester experienced major network outages in January, a glitch at two NHS Wales data centers being the cause of the outage.

By Ddu