Intended for healthcare professionals


Labour calls for inquiry into NHS cyber-attack

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: (Published 16 May 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j2395
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. London

Politicians and doctors’ leaders have called for an official inquiry into the “ransomware” cyber-attack that paralysed IT systems across 48 English NHS trusts, 13 NHS organisations in Scotland, general practices, and pharmacies on 12 May.12

Operations were postponed, appointments cancelled, and staff were asked to work over the weekend, as trusts put emergency plans into action to deal with the problem.

Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs five hospitals in east London and was one of the trusts most badly affected, was still reporting disruption to services on Monday and Tuesday, with some surgery and outpatient appointments cancelled.

The National Crime Agency has launched a criminal inquiry into who was responsible for the attack and how it was committed. But Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s shadow health secretary, wrote to Jeremy Hunt, England’s health secretary, urging him to launch an independent inquiry into the attack and to assess whether patients’ data had been compromised. Ashworth demanded to know why NHS organisations had been left exposed to attack, what resources hospitals were being given to deal with the crisis, and what protections against cyber-attacks existed.

NHS Digital, the body responsible for ensuring that organisations meet information and security standards, said that most NHS organisations were …

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