NHS Urged to Consider Microsoft Alternatives Following Cyber Attacks

Jon Hoeksma | Digital Health | May 17, 2017

In the wake of Friday’s international cyber attacks, which caused widespread disruption across NHS organisations, a small team of developers is recommending the health service reduce its reliance on Microsoft. The NHS almost exclusively uses Microsoft operating systems, some of which – like Windows XP – are no longer officially supported.

To demonstrate that there is a licence-free alternative, GP Marcus Baw and technologist Rob Dyke have adapted the open source Linux-based Ubuntu operating system specifically for the NHS. They call it NHSbuntu. Dyke said adopting NHSbuntu could form part of a strategy for better securing of legacy operating systems and key clinical applications. He described residual NHS use of XP, including in medical devices and diagnostic equipment, as a “critical liability” in some trusts.

Baw said the system also had the potential to save the NHS millions in licence fees currently paid to Microsoft, and suggested open source alternatives could be particularly suited for administrative, non-clinical and back-office users. Adoption of NHSbuntu could also potentially help the NHS make more widespread use of cloud computing. Ubuntu is already the most widely used operating system for cloud-based applications...

Open Health News' Take: 

Long overdue. Not only for desktops, but also for medical devices.