Friday, 12 May 2017

NHS - Disbelief

Exhibit 1

No doubt we'll get the usual 'NHS funding crisis', 'Tory cuts' wailing.

But what about this?..

And this?

And this?

And this?

There is a lot more of 'this'.

Why don't they just concentrate on the basics?

53 comments:

Rich Tee said...

I used to write health software that is used in the NHS. I just got made redundant because my job is being outsourced to India.

Just sayin'.

Rich Tee said...

It's interesting to note that on Thursday I tried to withdraw cash from several HSBC cash machines, and every single one of them said "Out of Service" on them. I thought something big must have been going down right then, for them to take every cash machine offline.

Lola said...

RT I knew a linux programmer who told me he always left some sort of back door access for himself in code he wrote. He may have been bullshitting of course.

Bayard said...

Having a unified computer system for the NHS wasn't a bad idea. The problem is that the state is a very bad buyer of such things. Just another expensive aspect of crony capitalism.

paulc156 said...

The failed computer system is a very old story but the thing that struck me about this cyber attack was the large number if XP machines still in use in the NHS. That will no doubt change now but is obviously all about shaving costs in order to continue providing a service. ie.cost pressures coupled with rising demand.

Lola said...

P156. The poibt is tgey blew billions on a failed project which coukd have been used to keep the existing infrastructure updated. This is a cnassic top down central planning faikure.

DBC Reed said...

@L
In the present context paul156's critique is all too plausible. With the NHS deliberately starved of funds by its own government, it is likely that security maintenance was skimped on.
I don't know what you've got against planning. All those senior private sector managers sitting on their arses in expensive offices in London must be doing something: it is possible that they are involved in a certain amount of long term planning. Your support of laissez faire chaos theory would indicate that you think they are wasting their time.
Nice to see Jeremy Corbyn is getting back to politics that encourage a co-ordinated mixed economy, formerly so successful that Harold Macmillan was warning in 1957 , following a 25% rise in real wages of the perils of never having it so good . Then we got the abolition of schedule A, the abolition of Resale Price maintenance by Edward Heath( recently re-legalised in the US) and finally full chaos from the mind of Chemistry graduate Mrs Fatty Bigknickers.

Mark Wadsworth said...

In defence of the NHS, it seems that thousands of organisations around the world were affected.

paulc156 said...

L. Looks to me like you need to upgrade your keyboard.Yes of course of course, with hindsight and all. Sometimes central planning is essential sometimes ill advised. I honestly don't know whether this was not doable or whether a single system offered a great advantage if it could be delivered. Was 'all' the money wasted, I don't think so. I mean weren't significant parts of the money simply circulated within the economy as earnings and some part of that remitted as taxation. Meanwhile, had the money never been spent it would have made no difference to the current NHS budget pressures which are directly linked with the large number of XP machines in the NHS. Oh and the fact that these 'tools' used to lock up all manner of computer systems these Las couple of days, likely originated from the NSA in the States.

Lola said...

DBCR.MW. et al.

Without any doubt useless bureaucrats throughout the NHS and government (and in the crony corporatist outfits they contracted with) blew at least £12Bn on another failed - and pointless - NHS (or even just government) computer system. That money would have been better spent keeping existing systems up to date.

Let me give you an analogy. My small FS business is in structure analogous to a GP practice. We have continually 'invested' in up to date IT and CRM. I am just spending over £20,000 for the current round of upgrades. These have included state of the art anti-malware and anti-virus systems. Plus we train staff to just delete anything they cannot identify and I am going to deploy some other checks. (One of our existing checks picked up a scammer that had hacked a client's email account and tried to divert funds to the scammers bank account).

But that is not the point. My systems integrate and share data with dozens of our suppliers and customers. We access client data from insurers and investments managers in quite incredible detail. We have third party data suppliers that we use for analysis of funds, consumer finance, products like life insurance and all the rest of it.

I have client facing software that enables clients to look at models of all their financial lives which includes bank account data. And I am looking at deploying another client portal.

All these connections have been built and deployed commercially at very low costs to each user - but probably in aggregate value of many billions. Crucially no bureaucrat or state apparatchik was involved.

Crucially all this aggregate investment has actually reduced prices (and increased quality) to our clients. This is capitalism and competitive markets doing what they do in delivering more for less every day.

The NHS could do all this. Well it could do if it was not hide bound to the outdated and functionally failed central planning socialist model. The NHS is structurally flawed and no-one innit has any proper incentive at all to to any of it any 'better'. They clearly have not kept up with current IT and its possibilities - and its vulnerabilities.

This is not a lack of money. It's a systemic failure. (Oh, and most of the global orgisations that have suffered seem to be government or quasi government, e.g. Deutsche Bahn.). It really is not very expensive to keep up to date. If I can do it then the NHS can certainly do it within their existing budgets, and if not they could stop paying staff full time on union facility time.

By keeping IT dispersed into smaller nodes integrated and networked through strong anti-malware and anti-virus systems in each individual node, you have more chance of isolating infections and assaults like this one.

I worry every day about the security of the large amounts of client data I have. If my database was compromised the reputational damage could destroy my business and the value I have built up over 30 years. That is one of the exact incentives that the NHS and its employees lack. They have zero reputational risk and have zero fear of losing everything. They will now blame everyone else but themselves.

Lola said...

P156. Ot keyboard problems. Finger on smartphone problems.

Yes, that's another point. Another government bureaucracy, the NSA, seems to have built this weapon and then lost control of it> Well, what a bloody surprise. More failed government

Mark Wadsworth said...

L, you are confusing the issues.

1. The £12 billion which the NHS appears to have 'wasted' was not wasted at all, it was supposed to work like that, this is straightfoward corruption "You donate to my party, I'll put you right with some juicy contracts and I don't care it they work to not".

2. Yes of course if the NHS wanted to, they could have prevented this attack. But they were not the only organisations - public or private - who fell for it.

3. The NHS is of course a state-run monopoly, that is a separate issue to whether it is run by crooks (politicians) and staffed by people who don't care about data security (nothing to lose), both of which are quite clearly true.

Mike W said...

There are folks here who know better than me on these issues. But Microsoft were upgrading XP even though they said they would not. They were even sending patches to single users like me. Also my version of XP (backup computer) has the up-to-date use of a leading Anti Virus package, which, updated very nicely last night. But then folks don't wander in and out of my office with USB pendrives :)

Lola said...

MW.

Re your point #1. Damn'. I forgotten that.

Lola said...

MikeW. Correct...

wiggiatlarge said...

Haven't many business's stayed with XP pro because it works rather than upgrading to the next Microsoft disaster ? that may not apply now but it did not so long ago.

Shiney said...

I concur about the failed IT project - waste of money. £10bn? ... for a database. Jeez. We wrote our own ERP system from scratch in 2009 using open source tools.

They should've got a proper O/S years ago. Linux is free (i.e. as in liberty and beer) - NHS could've moved to that at minimal cost. Instead Blair met Bill Gates and Capita (in 199 I think) at no 10 and the rest, as they say, is history. Corruption writ large.

My business runs totally on Linux... We've never had a Windows server since we started in '03. Since '07 all our clients are Linux (with a couple of Macs for designers who run Adobe creative stuff). Reason... its my f***ng money.

Lola said...

Shiney. Last sentence. Yup! Next iteration for us maybe Linux servers.

Bayard said...

Shiney, when I started with the Civil service, back in the 80s, the computers were all Unix. However, they were mainframes with terminals. When PCs came in towards the end of the 80's, they were already running MSDOS, so it looks like Microsoft got in with HMG long before Tony's cosy chat.

However, I agree about Linux for the NHS. Open source software would be a much better use of public money, but see Mark's point No.1 above.

Shiney said...

@B Yep... there's even this... https://www.nhsbuntu.org/ but I guess the shysters at NHS IT have already been bribed by the big IT companies to ignore it. #corruption

So when the usual lefist suspects, and the BBC, start wailing 'lack of resources' and 'Tory cuts' my reply is, in the current vernacular, FACEPALM...... or in old money 'f**k off you don't know what you're talking about'.

@L "Next iteration for us maybe Linux servers". Do it!. Now! and stop paying Microsoft money. Exsi servers are the way to go then you can run everything virtually - we do, including the open source phone system!!! All mirrored 'in the cloud' as well. For pennies.

DBC Reed said...

The "lets be kind to Heremy Junt : he's a bit thick" operation is in full spate. Although he acts like a surprised bystander, he is in charge of the NHS and should have made sure that its malware/ security with Microsoft continued to be paid for.
Instead like Fatty Bigknickers herself who decided during her initial sado monetarist phase, that HMS Endurance was a useless frippery,Junt made savings out of full anti public sector prejudice, which have caught him out (and endangered the health and lives of innocent British people).
Not to worry; Fatty profited mightily from her penny-pinching small mindedness , reversing the lowest approval ratings for PM of all times
by State violence in the South Atlantic and then back here.

Bayard said...

DBCR, I am surprised to see you in full support of big global corporations like Microsoft. What Jeremy Hunt (please will some kind PM put him back in charge of a department beginning with "C", where he belongs) should have been doing is not bunging millions at MS, but saving the NHS millions by moving all its software onto open-source platforms, which would then be virus resistant FOC. MS has a really good scam going here: it sells faulty software (the fact that MS software is vulnerable to viruses is a fault with the software, not a problem of malicious hackers) and then charges again for more software (anti-virus programs) to put that fault right.

Graeme said...

How easy would it be to run specialist systems from suppliers such as Siemens and GEC on linux? Also, contrary to earlier reports, it seems that only 4.7% of NHS devices run XP. And the malware has affected 125000 systems, so it is not really something that solely happened to a small proportion of the NHS. Let's get some perspective here

Lola said...

DBCR. Your planet. Is tge weather nice?

Shiney said...

@DBCR Facelpalm or, in old money, 'f**k off you don't know what you're talking about'.

@Bayard Agreed.

@Graeme Crap.... we'eve got lots of embedded stuff controlling servos and the like in my factory. Anything built later than about '05 is running an embedded Linux... like most routers and switches do.

"However, Kingsley Manning, a former chairman of NHS Digital, - which provides the health service's IT systems - told the BBC on Saturday that several hundred thousand computers were still running on Windows XP"

And I bet most of the one's that are infected would be 'office' PCs not those running HMIs and and controlling stuff like embedded devices - the clue is that operations were cancelled because they couldn't process patients etc, etc.

That would indicate that the ransomeware was loaded via sharing of documents... not something you do to an embedded device - and if you do you're an idiot and desrved to get hacked. Plus, if you REALLY need to run XP to control a particular piece of hardware, just run it virtually for that one process on a Linux box with no network access for the Virtual O/S.... easy, see!.

And I'm just a lowly grunt out here in the real world, so if I know this stuff why don't the fuckwits at NHS digital? But, hey ho... its down to a bunch of civil servants so none of them will get sacked.

Bayard said...

"its down to a bunch of civil servants so none of them will get sacked."

No, some of them will probably be promoted.

DBC Reed said...

@ Shiney,Lola and Bayard
As it happens, I do know what I an talking about. My version of events is now on the Telegraph website under "NHS cyber attack.Jeremy Hunt ignored repeated warnings over system vulnerability"(without any inverted commas).Other sites report that he has now in hiding and will probably get away with it since Mrs May is unlikely to sack him, as widely canvassed, in the midst of an election.
Since you campaign tirelessly for the extinction of this country's post-war mixed economy, I am equally entitled to tell you to fuck off since you don't know what you are talking about.You "know" what is going to happen post-Brexit do you ? Or are you just venting peculiar forms of right-wing prejudice?
Talking of prejudice: Mrs May has come up with a Tory housing policy which seems to involve a lot of compulsory purchase of land to build public sector housing. I would be interested in finding out more about this, especially from right-wing blowhards .
( And please cut out all the computer-bore self indulgence)

Shiney said...

@DBCR - We're talking about government IT - all else is off topic. If you can't stay on topic, go away.

Hmmm, its in The Telegraph so it must be true... don't make me laugh.

Hunt is a twat for sure but is just a passenger in the slow motion car crash that is government IT -along with all ministers... Red, Blue or yellow.

All the rest of your last comment is not even worth replying to.

Lola said...

DBCR. Your drifting of into irrelevance again. The point I was making was that under Blair the NHS launched into a IT project that failed under Cameron and cost about £12Bn that would have been much better spent just dealing with existing system vulnerabilities. I also said that I would make a bet that sooner or later the eevil toreee cuts would be blamed.

I am right. You are wrong.

(Thinking about it this is also analogous to HS2. Better to spend money upgrading existing systems than spending zillions on some fantasy vanity project.)

Lola said...

DBCR. One more thing. Your comments are letting you down. If you are going to make the the case for the superiority of the planned political economy over freedom, private ownership and markets then make it clearly and simply without all the invective and silly epithets.

The one thing that binds us on here is the commitment based on the insight to LVT being the least worst way of financing the 'State'. You might try and recognise that sometimes.

Bayard said...

"(And please cut out all the computer-bore self indulgence)"

Perhaps you could you cut out the puerile name-calling. I'm no great fan of Margaret Thatcher either, but it hardly enhances your argument to call her "Fatty Bigknickers", or does that epithet refer to Theresa May?

In any case, you still haven't explained your enthusiasm for the NHS giving lots of money to billionaire Bill Gates.

Lola, I am now convinced that the sole purpose of HS2 was to make a bunch of Brummie landowners rich by bringing Birmingham within commuting distance of London. There is no other explanation that covers all the mystifying aspects of the project, like why the Tories have suddenly become pro-rail, why there are no intermediate stations, why the line speed is so high, which the concomitant huge increase of cost, etc. All of which neatly brings us back to Mark's point No.1.

DBC Reed said...

You right wing blowhards seem intent on going into a lot of silly irrelevance about how the public sector always makes a mess of everything (illustrated by a lot of pub bore boasting about how clever you are with conputers). Asked to explain how Theresa May is forced by the simple logic of the situation to rescue the broken housing market (and hence the whole economy crippled by high rents and property prices) by a resort to public sector house building, you fail to respond
Wake up :the game's afoot.The Tories appear to have realised that Homeownerism's a busted flush. Warning:Shiney has decided that this is not worth bothering about (see above).The fact that the State' has mismanaged the computer security precept is the overriding issue, he insists, rudely.

Shiney said...

@DBCR

This post is debating why the NHS got caught in the latest ransomwear scam.

And what @Lola said. I'm happy to debate all of the other stuff elsewhere.... @MW warned everybody a while back to stay on topic. This topic is about givernment (specifically NHS) IT.

I could take offence at some of your comments, but hey, out here in the real world there are more important things to be getting on with.

Lola said...

DBCR. For heavens sake man! We are debating how monolithic agencies like the NHS are relatively unsuccessful in managing themselves and how - with the collusion of government and crony capitalists - they waste £squllions on things like the failed (New labour mandated) giant IT projects.

Stick to the bloody topic.

DBC Reed said...

The aim of this website is to advance ideas that would promote the adoption of LVT in this country. All the endless attacks on the EU and ,lately, even cruder attacks on the public sector in general are off topic. As to the NHS, I could repeat Keiser's well-informed, adverse commentary on the private sector bureaucracy of privatised medicine in the USA, but so what?
I am prepared to see what would happen if spending were organised on more laissez faire lines after the institution of LVT. I should imagine that then would be the time for a debate on such matters. But to ill naturedly seize on public sector failures to cope with the systemic weaknesses of a rent-collecting private sector computer system is just vandalism.
The one political advantage LVT has is that it can appeal to left and right wing opinion. But the right evidently cannot restrain itself: the old fable of the frog and the scorpion.

Mark Wadsworth said...

DBC, this not just an LVT blog, we pillory all forms of rent seeking, whether that's land rent or fraud, misspending and incompetence in the NHS. Land rent us the biggest issue but not the only one. Read the draft manifesto.

Lola said...

MW - Yup. Anti economic rent.

DBCR. The 'old fables' are those of Marx et al.

Bayard said...

DBCR, you appear to fail to appreciate that the same cronyism that has messed up our public sector is also messing up the private sector. Perhaps we don't attack private sector cronyism enough, but public sector cronyism affects us far more then the private sector variety, as it negatively impacts areas we all affected by, like local government or the NHS. Private sector cronyism, which results in the management of companies enriching themselves at the expense of the owners of those companies, only affects those who own shares in the relevant companies. (Which is one of the reasons why the British model of nationalisation never really worked: the nationalised companies were still the same crony capitalist companies that they had been before nationalisation, it was just that the owners being ripped off were taxpayers who could do even less about it than shareholders.)

Graeme said...

Shine y, you appear to have missed my point. In your enthusiasm to bash the NHS for whatever reason you fail to note that under 5%of NHS machines were affected by this attack. Why are you not excoriating the other 100,000 organisations that suffered, such as FedEx? Obviously, you and Lola work in places infinitely more complicated and sensitive than the NHS and FedEx.... Somehow I doubt that you have any grasp of the complexities. I am asking for perspective rather than idiotic knee jerking responses blaming the NHS when the NHS got off better than many private sector organisations.

Shiney said...

@G

"In your enthusiasm to bash the NHS for whatever reason you fail to note that under 5%of NHS machines were affected by this attack."
Caused a shitstorm though, didn't it?

"Why are you not excoriating the other 100,000 organisations that suffered, such as FedEx?"

Because the title of Mark's post was...."NHS Disbelief" and the BBC et al have majored on this. So naturally that was the focus of comment. As @L said "We are debating how monolithic agencies like the NHS are relatively unsuccessful in managing themselves".

I'd include banks etc in this, and as luck (or not) would have it we had an outage with HSBC this morning because they did an 'upgrade' to their systems on Friday. I wonder why?

And... maybe, just maybe, the fact that large organisations seem to be susceptible to this sort of systemic failure goes some way to backing up mine an Lola's point.

Distributed systems tend to work better. They're more resilient.

"Somehow I doubt that you have any grasp of the complexities"
Oh, really? Not knowing to patch XP PCs (or firewall them to stop document sharing)... and not having a program for replacement, is a bit basic (no pun intended), no?

Lola said...

Graeme. Yes. But. I was making the point that £12 Bn had been wasted that could have been better spent.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Sh, this wasn't my post, it was Lola's.

I don't know much about IT, a bit like the NHS.

Bayard said...

"Why are you not excoriating the other 100,000 organisations that suffered, such as FedEx?"

Well, apart from it being somewhat O/T, how many other organisations affected deal with matters of life and death like the NHS? Isn't it just a teeny bit more important to make sure that a hospital's computer systems are secure than a delivery company's? Also, if a private company decides to run vulnerable software on outdated computers, that's their own business. If a public sector organisation does it, it's the public's (i.e. our) business. That's why it's called the public sector.

Shiney said...

@MW Sorry

Look, a lot of organisations (public and private) have inept computer staff, procedures, systems and don't patch/update properly.

The point Lola, Bayard, myself are making is.... almost the FIRST response from the media/left is... Tory Cuts/lack of resources. Which just isn't true. It could've been fixed ages ago without ANY increase in resources... in fact with less. As I said ages ago the politicos are just passengers in this.

And what @B just said

Enough.

Lola said...

Shiney. B et al

Which brings us back to the central planning / distorted incentives / accountability / reputational damage thing.

If this had been a private hospital group that had had all these system failures you can better your bottom byte that the lefties would have been on it like a rash.

Whilst there is no risk of reputational damage and no consequences for any employee / owner you (we?) will continue to endure these failures.

Lola said...

It seems that the same points have exercised Timmy...
https://www.adamsmith.org/blog/a-bigger-nhs-budget-wouldnt-solve-the-ransomware-problem-no

Lola said...

BTW. This whole IT 'virus' farrago reminded me of this:-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivors_(1975_TV_series)

DBC Reed said...

Try Googling Labour mulls land value Tax and you should get Labour Manifesto mulls land value tax and the news that Labour Party has, in its manifesto, pledged to look at LVT .Pity MW has declared that LVT is no longer this group's non-partisan objective and is trying to enlist right-wing extremist support. Blown it.

Mark Wadsworth said...

DBC "look at"??? Like May will "look at" building more council houses or capping gas bills?

DBC Reed said...

Try Heather Stewart on Labour manifesto and Land value Tax: rather more nuanced.Following all your co-operation with Labour Land Campaign you might have expected to play some part in these deliberations. Not if the Labour Party gets wind of your lurch away from a non-partisan approach.

Lola said...

Dbcr. Labour look at LVT as an extra tax. Not a replacement tax. Nuff sed

Mark Wadsworth said...

DBC, the LLC are trying their damnedest, if they need my help (as long term paid up member, Hon Treasurer and all round good chap) they will ask me and I will do what I can. Apart from that, sod Labour, if they haven't worked it out by now they never will.

L, in all fairness, they have suggested "looking at" replacing Council Tax and Business Rates with LVT, that's all.

Bayard said...

"Like May will "look at" building more council houses or capping gas bills?"

Yes it's quite laughable the complete porkies May is now telling in a attempt to steal Labour's thunder. I do sincerely hope that her efforts to come over all left wing provoke outrage amongst her loyal followers and derision on the part of everyone else for the obvious lies that they are.