‘Star’ IT team protected L&D

Luton and Dunstable University Hospital

Luton and Dunstable University Hospital

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Luton and Dunstable Hospital praised its IT staff after it avoided the cyber attack on the NHS.

When the attack took place on May 12, the hospital’s IT department quickly mobilised a rapid response expert team, who worked together through the incident on a rolling 24-hour shift for several days, applying specific security updates to vulnerable equipment and performing intensive scanning of all IT equipment.

Luton and Dunstable University Hospital

Luton and Dunstable University Hospital

The Trust also needed to limit incoming and outgoing network connections for a defined period to protect operational ability.

Philippa Graves, chief information officer, said: “Our timely, decisive action to isolate to the hospital’s network for a period allowed us to scan the internal systems to ensure no security breaches had occurred. If any had been found they would have been quarantined and eradicated.

“Trust-wide communications were established immediately and there were hourly updates to inform staff of the actions taken, the reasons why, and the next steps needed to ensure the safety of the hospital network and systems.

“This gave assurance to staff who could then in turn assure patients that the IT services and, more importantly, their data, were safe.”

The priority was to protect the Trust from the virus, and maintain a full patient service, especially as L&D clinicians were supporting patients from neighbouring hospitals.

Dr Danielle Freedman, chief medical advisor, said: “The IT team’s dedication and loyalty is overwhelming. They are true stars!”

As an e-hospital, the L&D’s patient services, are supported by information technology, while the Trust is committed to handling patient data “securely and legally”, with ongoing investment in security.

For example, The L&D has been improving information security measures and patching strategy, investing in new firewalls and software.

Increased intruder detection software is also planned.