The Health News United Kingdom October 29 2017

  • The NHS could have avoided the crippling effects of the “relatively unsophisticated” WannaCry ransomware outbreak in May with “basic IT security”, according to an independent investigation into the cyberattack. The National Audit Office said that 19,500 medical appointments were cancelled, computers at 600 GP surgeries were locked and five hospitals had to divert ambulances elsewhere.
  • Women in Scotland are set to become the first in the UK to be allowed to take the abortion pill at home. Campaign groups welcomed a move they said offered “clear potential advantages”. It means women will no longer have to travel to clinics to terminate pregnancies.
  • Hayley Smith is one of up to 300,000 people with mental health problems who leave their jobs each year, a report says.The report by mental health experts also says poor mental health costs the UK economy up to £99bn each year. Companies are being encouraged to include a section on employee mental health in their annual reports but currently only 11% of companies do this.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 29th of  October 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/oct/27/nhs-could-have-avoided-wannacry-hack-basic-it-security-national-audit-office

The NHS could have avoided the crippling effects of the “relatively unsophisticated” WannaCry ransomware outbreak in May with “basic IT security”, according to an independent investigation into the cyberattack. The National Audit Office said that nineteen thousand five hundred medical appointments were cancelled, computers at six hundred general practitioner surgeries were locked and five hospitals had to divert ambulances elsewhere. “The WannaCry cyber attack had potentially serious implications for the NHS and its ability to provide care to patients,” said Amyas Morse, the head of the NAO.
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The NAO said the Department of Health was unable to cost the impact of the outbreak and the full extent of the damage may never be known. Overall, eighty one NHS organisations in England were affected, a third of the total. WannaCry was a type of malware known as a ransomware worm. It was capable of travelling from machine to machine directly, infecting new computers by automatically seeding itself across corporate networks. When it did manage to infect a new machine, it first silently worked in the background to infiltrate itself within the operating system, then restarted the computer and began the process of encrypting the hard drive, rendering it impossible to read without the encryption key. Victims were offered the chance to buy the key, for  three hundred dollars. The worm nature of the virus, spreading automatically, means that some NHS regions were far worse hit than others, the report says. The North and Midlands & East regions contained thirty two of the thirty seven NHS trusts affected, simply because they were the first regions to be hit, giving the virus most of the day to spread throughout their networks.

The WannaCry ransomware managed to spread to more than one hundred fifty countries in less than a day, using a computer exploit discovered by the NSA and leaked by a suspected Russian hacking group called The Shadow Brokers to bounce from machine to machine. When it was installed on a computer, it proceeded to encrypt the hard-drive, stopping it from being used and preventing the recovery of any data. More than one hundred thousand pounds was eventually paid to the hackers, who withdrew the funds in August.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/scottish-women-to-be-allowed-to-take-abortion-pill-at-home-a3669121.html

Women in Scotland are set to become the first in the UK to be allowed to take the abortion pill at home. Campaign groups welcomed a move they said offered “clear potential advantages”. It means women will no longer have to travel to clinics to terminate pregnancies.

Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood wrote to health boards to say that the pill, misoprostol, can be taken by women outside a clinical setting. The Scottish Government said the move did not require a change in the law but came under existing powers available within the nineteen sixty seven Abortion Act. Scotland’s Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said: “Abortion can be an emotive subject, however I am proud this government is working hard to ensure women are always able to access clinically safe services.
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The British Pregnancy Advisory Service, as well as campaign groups including Engender, Amnesty Scotland and Rape Crisis Scotland welcomed the move. Ann Furedi, chief executive of BPAS, said: “We thoroughly welcome the Scottish government’s decision. She added:  “This will spare women not only the difficulties associated with having to make more than one clinic visit, childcare, transport, time off work, but it will also spare women from the risk of symptoms on their way home, having taken the medication in a clinic.

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-41740666

Hayley Smith says her manager encouraged her to apply for other jobs when she told her she had depression. The news about her illness spread across the office. “It was horrible – I felt really exposed,” she says. After a few anxious, unhappy months, she left. Hayley is one of up to three hundred thousand people with mental health problems who leave their jobs each year, a report says.The report by mental health experts also says poor mental health costs the UK economy up to ninety nine billion pounds each year. Paul Farmer, co-author of the Thriving At Work report, said mental health was a taboo subject in many workplaces.

Mister Farmer, who is chief executive of mental health charity Mind, said: “Opportunities are missed to prevent poor mental health and ensure that employees who may be struggling get the support they need. The review makes forty recommendations for how to support employees to remain at work, including creating an online wellbeing portal and using digital technology to support workers in the gig economy. Companies are also being encouraged to include a section on employee mental health in their annual reports. Currently only eleven percent of companies do this, the report said. Prime Minister Theresa May, who commissioned the report, said it showed “we need to take action”. The civil service has agreed to take on the report’s recommendations.

The review said that people with long-term mental health problems were leaving jobs at twice the rate of colleagues with no such issues, although it did say that some people may be counted twice – if they left one job, returned to work elsewhere after a break but were then unable to continue in their new post. The report also pointed out the cost to employers, estimating they were losing forty two billion pounds each year because of staff suffering from mental health problems.

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