1. ITV Report

NHS cyber attack 'could have been prevented'

The virus message displayed on computer screens across the NHS Photo: PA

An investigation into the cyber attack which crippled parts of the NHS in May has found that it could have been prevented, if basic I.T. security measures had been taken.

Whitehaven's West Cumberland Hospital was one of several A&E departments across England where ambulances had to be diverted.

Dumfries and Galloway was the first health board to confirm it had been affected in Scotland.

The National Audit Office's report found that almost 19,500 medical appointments were estimated to have been cancelled.

The attack is believed to have infected machines at 81 health trusts across England, plus computers at almost 600 GP surgeries.

Five hospitals had to divert ambulances away after being locked out of computers on May 12 Credit: PA

All were running computer systems - the majority Windows 7 - that had not been updated to secure them against such attacks.

The National Audit Office says the NHS needs to do more to prevent similar attacks in future.

Gold command for North Cumbria NHS Trust during the cyber attack said:

Our teams at both trusts worked around the clock to ensure that there was very minimal disruption to patient care during the cyber attack.

I remain extremely proud of the way all our staff responded to the cyber attack.

They followed our business continuity plans without hesitation and went above and beyond to ensure we continued to provide safe services to our patients.

Since the incident we have worked across the system to ensure that communication methods between teams, services and individuals during this type of incident are clear and that business continuity plans for this type of incident remain robust.”

– Helen Ray, Executive Managing Director of Operations, North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust