Cybersecurity investment 'could save the NHS millions'

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The NHS could save millions by investing in effective cybersecurity protections, a new report has claimed.

Surveying 100 major IT decision-makers at NHS trusts around the country, the study by security firm Palo Alto Networks found that 90 per cent belivied prioritising cybersecurity was the key to spurring on wider NHS digital transformation efforts

83 per cent also agreed that cybersecurity investment could enable substantial savings saving £14.8 million nationally each year on average - enough money to pay for an additional 150 doctors and 250 nurses within the NHS.

The report suggest that the overall level of support for increased cybersecurity investment within the NHS is high, with a number of benefits mentioned by the study's respondents. This includes 65 per cent believing that it would improve the level of patient trust, almost half (49 per cent) thinking it would streamline processes, and 45 per cent seeing long-term cost-savings as a result.

The cybersecurity push should form part of the NHS' wider digitalisation efforts, Palo Alto says, which should result in a better all-round standard of patient care. 

Yet while 41 per cent felt that all staff should receive specific training, only a minority of NHS IT professionals said that front-line staff who accessed IT systems receive cybersecurity training, such as administrators (30 per cent), doctors (11 per cent) and nurses (six per cent).

“Digitisation can reap considerable benefits for NHS patients and staff, yet the capacity to save money and improve patient care through more seamless, digital processes is dependent on how the NHS leverages cybersecurity to maintain trust, while capitalising on its exponential data growth," said Dave Allen, regional vice president, Western Europe, Palo Alto Networks.

"Preventing successful cyberattacks will be paramount in reducing disruption to medical services and improving patient trust, leading to the greater ability to use data to improve health outcomes.”