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Deal with Microsoft announced to boost NHS cyber security

The Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed a multi-million pound package with Microsoft will ensure all health and care organisations are using the latest Windows 10 software with up-to-date security settings to help prevent cyber attacks.


Since 2017 the government has invested £60 million to address cyber security weaknesses. A further £150 million will be spent over the next three years to improve the NHS’s resilience against attacks. This will include setting up a new digital security operations centre to prevent, detect and respond to incidents.


The centre will allow NHS Digital to respond to cyber attacks more quickly and allow local Trusts to detect threats, isolate infected machines and kill the threat before it spreads.


The Department has also confirmed other measures to improve cyber security. It has pledged £21 million to upgrade firewalls and network infrastructure at major trauma centre hospitals and ambulance Trusts and £39 million spent by NHS Trusts to address infrastructure weaknesses.


New powers are to be given to the Care Quality Commission to inspect NHS Trusts on their cyber and data security capabilities. A data security and protection toolkit will be introduced which requires health and care organisations to meet 10 security standards and a text messaging alert system will ensure Trusts have access to accurate information – even when internet and email services are down.


Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt says: “We know cyber attacks are a growing threat, so it is vital our health and care organisations have secure systems which patients trust.


“We have been building the capability of NHS systems over a number of years, but there is always more to do to future-proof our NHS against this threat. This new technology will ensure the NHS can use the latest and most resilient software available - something the public rightly expect.”