More than a million computers belonging to the NHS are currently running the Windows 7 (opens in new tab) operating system, which some MPs see as a potential problem.
The operating system in itself is not the problem, according to Jo Platt MP, shadow cabinet office minister, but the fact that it is nearing end of life, and thus – end of support from Microsoft.
With the operating system (opens in new tab) losing vital support starting January 14, 2020, it will remain vulnerable to any new flaws and holes that may be uncovered after that time. Sure, Microsoft can always be called in to patch them up, but that also means extra expenses for the NHS.
“With less than six months before Windows 7 support expires (opens in new tab), it is deeply concerning that over a million NHS computers, over three quarters of the total NHS IT estate, are still using this operating system," she says.
MP Jacqueline Doyle-Price, on the other hand, says that the migration process to Windows 10 is well under way. “All NHS organisations, with the exception of one which had already upgraded to Windows 10, have signed up to receive Windows 10 licences and Advanced Threat Protection,” she wrote. “Deployment of Windows 10 is going well and in line with target to make sure the NHS is operating on supported software when Windows 7 goes out of support in 2020.”
Some machines belonging to the NHS are still running Windows XP, and it’s very hard to determine when they might be updated, Doyle-Price said, because in some machines, the OS is embedded.