More than 8,000 computer viruses hit NHS last year

More than 8,000 computer viruses infected NHS computers in the last year, according to a report.

A More4 News investigation said that a Freedom of Information request revealed 8,000 viruses got through security systems, with 12 incidents affecting clinical departments and hitting patient care.

The investigation was triggered by an incident last November where the Mytob worm infected three London hospitals in Barts, the Royal London and the London Chest Hospital.

The virus shut down computer systems for at least 24 hours which forced back up systems to be used, with non-essential activities scaled back.

Further probing by More4 News revealed that 100 users were locked out of their computer systems in Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells.

Other trusts with infections included Basingstoke, Newcastle as well as Bradford and Leeds teaching hospitals.

Back in January, IT PRO reported how the dreaded Conficker worm hit a Sheffield hospital at the end of 2008, affecting 800 of the 7,000 PCs used.

NHS Connecting for Health said in a statement: "Electronic patient records systems are protected by the highest levels of access controls and other security measures."

"These levels of security are far higher than any which can be imposed on access to paper records or the majority of local IT solutions."