Cyber-attack sparks bitter political battle over NHS spending

The cyber-attack that disrupted NHS systems and forced operations to be cancelled throughout the UK on Saturday has become a bitterly contested election issue, with and the Liberal Democrats blaming the crisis on the government’s failure to upgrade hospital computers.

A Cobra emergency ministerial meeting held on Saturday afternoon heard that 48 NHS organisations – a fifth of the total – were caught up in the attack, which spread to 99 countries.

The shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, wrote to the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, saying that concerns had been repeatedly raised about the NHS’s outdated computers.

The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, expressed anger that the government had not renewed a multimillion-pound security package.

“In 2014, there was a one-year renewal of the protection system on the NHS systems which was not renewed and so systems are now not upgraded and not protected,” Corbyn said. “As a result, we’ve got this dreadful situation.”The Lib Dems demanded an inquiry into why the Conservatives had cut cybersecurity support a year ago when it axed the £5.5m deal with Microsoft.




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