NHS cyber attack: Patients at risk from Tory cuts

The cyber attack on the NHS has really serious consequences. It is the Tories who are to blame for the chaos that has followed.

By Tom O'Leary

The cyber attack on the NHS has really serious consequences. The Tories want to blame NHS staff or management for not upgrading systems. But the truth is that it is the Tories' own cuts to the NHS which made this attack possible. It is the Tories who are to blame for the chaos that has followed.

The effects are extremely serious. NHS workers can't access patient records, or book appointments. Ambulances are being turned away and operations postponed. Patient safety is already at risk. If the attack is not dealt with quickly, it is no exaggeration to say that lives could be at risk.

Health campaigners, medical workers, unions and the People's Assembly Against Austerity have all been campaigning against NHS cuts for many years now. But unless you're really at the sharp end of working in the NHS, or happen to need hospital treatment, then the effects of the cuts are not always so obvious. But any prolonged shutdown of the NHS functions will naturally terrify large sections of the population. Anyone of us could need NHS support at any time.

The Tories are already trying to shift the blame for this attack onto the NHS workers or managers, saying that they should have upgraded computer systems. But under the Tories the NHS budget for IT and other infrastructure has repeatedly been raided to cover day-to-day spending. The shortfall in day-to-day spending is itself because of Tory cuts.

The numbers are straight forward. Over the last two years, under the Tories the Department of Health raided £1.6 BILLION from the capital budget to cover holes in the day-to-day budget. This is why the computer systems weren't upgraded. There was no money to upgrade them. This is why the cyber criminals were successful in hacking the NHS, but most private companies and even most other government departments were protected.

This successful cyber attack destroys the Tories' claim to be a 'strong and stable' government. They have created chaos and endangered all of us. They talk about increasing defence spending to 'protect' us. But they have cut the NHS budget and failed to protect us from an actual attack, a potentially deadly attack. To cap it all, they will try to blame overworked NHS staff from the consequences of their own terrible decisions.

Everyone who values the NHS, or who wants to ensure their own and their loved ones' health, everyone who wants a decent society should have none of it. The Tory cuts have put us all at risk. Kick the Tories out one June 8!

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