English NHS hospitals have been infected by over 8,000 serious computer viruses in the last year alone. A number of the incidents could have been avoided with better anti-virus protection, an investigation found.
In Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells, a virus attack prevented 100 users from being able to access the network. In Newcastle, a separate virus attack created so many problems that it resulted in a three week appointment backlog.
The government is spending £12.7 billion moving patient records, prescriptions and X-rays to IT systems but this news has emerged that the IT viruses prevented those systems from working in many cases.
An investigation by More4 News found that 12 incidents had harmed patient care.
Other trusts affected include Grampian, Bradford Teaching Hospitals, Leeds Teaching Hospitals, Isle of Wight, Basingstoke and North Hampshire, and Poole.
Last November, Barts, the Royal London and the London Chest Hospital were hit by a virus that spread so quickly that it overloaded computer networks.
A number of trusts said their anti-virus systems were switched off, not properly applied, or that they had failed to allow automatic Microsoft Windows updates.
In Sheffield, 800 computers were infected after one in an operating theatre had its security software switched off.
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