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Blogging about things that matter to me. Photographing things I love - Instagram @debcyork. Writing about both. Only wine and chocolate can save us… You can also find me on Twitter (@debcyork) and Facebook. If you like four-legged views, try @missbonniedog on Twitter

Monday, 15 May 2017

Defence Spending

Despite the mass cyber attack, I currently (touch wood) seem to be able to use my laptop.  I am late working on it today but at least it is usable.  I hope you have survived the virus so far.

Whilst travelling to the hell hole which is Ikea earlier (I now go alone and beg strangers for help in lifting stuff rather than take my husband and plunge towards divorce at Aisle 1 of the warehouse), I was listening to the radio.  I think it was the Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 but anyway, the talk was of how surprisingly unsophisticated the WannaCry cyber attack has been in its components.  Experts believe plenty of 'cyber gangs' are capable of much more.

In other words, at least half of the National Health Service has been brought to its knees by amateur attackers.  Showing the experts how easy it is to break the outdated systems.  Causing chaos for millions.  Spreading it around the world in a flash.

Operations cancelled, patient details inaccessible,  thousands of appointments not possible.  The list of trouble is endless.  Paper records are no longer kept.  In most surgeries, you don't even check in for your appointment by talking to a human being anymore.  You use a touch screen arrival system.

Then it took an amateur IT researcher to crack the virus and stop it spreading.

So could someone please explain why defence spending is to be 'ring fenced' if the Conservatives win the election?  And why successive governments - of all persuasions - have clearly not spent enough on the infrastructure of the NHS?  We knew there was not enough being spent on staff and treatments.  Now it turns out that the systems are so poor, the whole service could be broken by what may turn out to be a bunch of chancers.  And what does this mean for public services in general?  Is enough being spent to prevent us losing access to power stations?  To stop someone hacking air traffic control?  etc etc.  Of course, most of the other UK services have already been privatised.  How do we know if these companies are spending enough on their defences?

My family, like most, has benefitted from the NHS over the years.  In fact, being blunt, none of us were born in private hospitals so it is a fairly safe assumption that without the NHS, some of us would not even have made it.  You only have to watch a drama like Call The Midwife to get an idea of conditions for many people at the time of the NHS' inception.

At least a million people use the NHS every day.  This apparently unsophisticated cyber attack needs to be the final straw, the final wakeup call for our government to protect and enhance it.  All of it.

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