NHS Patient Data Hacked

Because in 2017 companies and organizations still haven’t figured out how to implement security. Hacker claims to have stolen data on 1.2 million NHS patients | V3

But not to worry, the company that got hacked, SwiftQueue, says they didn’t have that much data. OK then. So only all the data you had got hacked. What a relief. Here, let’s give you more data. NOT.

SwiftQueue operates an appointment booking service for eight NHS Trusts; it also operates patient-operated check-in terminals in waiting rooms. After it discovered the breach, the company got in touch with the Metropolitan Police’s Cyber Crime unit.

It sure is a good thing that patient data is online and available for doctors and nurses and other hospital staff. Too bad that seems to mean it is also available to hackers.

If I had to guess… none of the data in question is encrypted, because that is hard. Sort of. There is no info on how the breach occurred. I wonder if the standard procedure in the UK is offer those whose data was hacked 2 years of credit monitoring services, as usually happens in this country. (Though I didn’t see anything about Chipotle Mexican Grill offering credit monitoring services after they got hacked.) My next guess is that this will have no impact on anyone at NHS or their contractor. Because bureaucracies look after their own.

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Insurance Versus Health Care – One does not guarantee the other

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) will pay for all medical services. If you can find a doctor to treat you, that is. Royal College of GPs warn profession could reach ‘breaking point’ | Society | The Guardian

The number of doctors in General Practice is low and going down. While the government is getting a slightly larger number of new doctors in to general practice, it isn’t keeping up with attrition.

The RCGP’s [the Royal College of GPs] annual report on plans to improve GP services in England raises concern that many doctors are yet to observe significant changes in GP numbers under the recruitment drive, with GP numbers having fallen since September 2016.

A survey of GPs for the report found that 39% think they are unlikely to be working in the profession in England in five years’ time.

What is pushing all these doctors to consider leaving medicine? Working conditions. (They all essentially work for the government under NHS.)

“Above all else we need to see efforts stepped up to keep hard-working, experienced GPs in the profession, and the best way to do this is to tackle workload pressures and improve the conditions under which all GPs and our teams are working,” [Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the RCGP, said.]

Long hours. Short times with patients. The kind of thing bean-counters try to control the minute the .gov takes over anything. Not the environment that doctors want – or apparently can stand for the long-haul.

UK’s NHS Ransomware Hack: They Knew They Were Vulnerable

They knew they were vulnerable because they had been hit before. Many times.

While everyone is busy being “shocked – shocked! – to discover that ransomware is real,” it turns out that NHS hospitals have been getting hit with ransomware for a while. NHS cyber attack: Doctor who predicted hack says scale makes him ‘worry about who is behind it’ | The Independent

“From a Freedom of Information request we know that over one third of NHS trusts have admitted to being hacked – but [in the past it seems to have been] individual organisations [targeted].”

So a third of your organization is hacked over some months, and Microsoft – and the whole of the cyber-security industry – starts yelling in March of this year that you need to update your systems or be in even worse stead, and you do nothing. (Exactly what would cause you to do something?)

Corporate IT departments will tell you that they can’t upgrade their systems every month. (I know I used to work in those departments, though I was never the one saying that.) But I update my system every month. And LibreOffice, all my browsers (I use several over the course of a week) my Kindle for PC app, Spotify (which is usually playing music in the background), games, etc. ALL continue to work. If your in-house applications don’t work across a security update, you are doing something REALLY wrong. And you should figure out how to stop doing that.

And then they launch into the “cost” of this attack, in terms of the impact on patients.

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$1.9 billion error in California’s version of Medicaid.

As one of the commenters on the story said, no one expects Progressives to be good at math. $1.9 billion error adds to California deficit projection

The administration discovered accounting mistakes last fall, but it did not notify lawmakers until the administration included adjustments to make up for the errors in Brown’s budget proposal last week.

Expanding Medicaid was a cornerstone of Obamacare. Said to be working smoothly in California. 1.9 billion dollars discovered in the fall. Before or after the election, I wonder. (Not that a few billion dollars would have changed voting habits on the Left Coast – where it is all about FEELINGS.) No one will lose their job over this error.

The 1.9 billion error is compounding the problem that CA is not collecting taxes at the rate they expected. Total budget shortfall is closer to $3 billion. [Hat tip to Small Dead Animals]

The Dream of Free Health Care in the UK Runs into Reality

Something that can’t last forever, won’t. Free universal healthcare questioned after record overspend by hospitals.

Overspending by the UK’s NHS has been substantial. Budgets are a wishful thought, and the some say the official numbers have been cooked by more than $700 million. Either way, the UK is finally up against the wall having to admit that maybe they can’t afford free health care.

Richard Murray, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund, said: “Overspending on this scale is not down to mismanagement or inefficiency in individual trusts.

“It shows a health system buckling under huge financial and operational pressures.

“At the same time, performance against key targets is deteriorating and concerns about quality of care are increasingly widespread.”

Those “key targets” are waiting times in emergency rooms, the number of people waiting for surgery. etc.

The solution – make people pay something.

That won’t be the next step. The next step will be to have the bean-counters take over complete control of health care. (And you thought you had trouble dealing with your insurance carrier – wait till it is administered by the DMV/IRS. Sorry, forgot that was in the hands of the IRS.)

The Declining State of Socialized Medicine in the UK

The state of health-care in the UK is going down. Spring NHS crisis even worse than winter, ‘Black Thursday’ data shows

Statistics about waiting times for A&E wards (emergency rooms), the weeks between a GP recommending a specialist’s care, and the beginning of that care, and ambulance response-times. Everything is getting worse. Because everything is dependent on government budgets.

Things are getting so bad that people in the UK who can afford it are buying private health insurance. Health insurance – do you need it, and when will insurers pay out?

This article is less interesting, because it is mostly a primer on the subject of premiums, deductibles, etc. But the point is that the good folks in the UK who can afford it, are saying to hell with socialized medicine.

If you can afford it, it might allow you to push for more tests, have shorter waiting times and get drugs and treatments not available on the NHS. You can also often choose your consultant and have access to the reassurance of 24-hour telephone advice.

Wait times can be substantial. (from the 1st article:)

The target for people to receive their first treatment for cancer within two months of being referred by their GP with symptoms was also missed during the whole of 2015/16, the new data shows.

So if your doctor determines you have cancer, you will wait around more than 2 months – on average – for an oncology appointment. In the NHS. Not to mention that some drugs are not approved. Or there is “post code lottery.” Where you can only get certain drugs if you life in certain places.

UK’s NHS is often (though not so much as in years past) held up as the “single payer” system that the USA should adopt. There is just one problem. It isn’t a great system either, and it isn’t getting better. Do I think our system is working? No. But then we aren’t letting people buy insurance on a national market. Why is it that I have to buy insurance in my own state? I don’t have to get a mortgage in my own state, and I am more likely to travel to another state than my house is. Oh, “because we’ve always done it that way.” Right.

I honestly don’t know what the best option is, but a single-payer system controlled by the .gov doesn’t strike me as the best bet. Think of all the other things the federal .gov handles. TSA and Border Control/ICE come to mind.

What Happens When Doctors Become Just Another Group of Government Employees? They go on strike.

The success of socialized medicine in the UK has be so “good” that doctors are considering a campaign to keep people out of the profession. Junior doctors could go on indefinite walk-out after strike, leaked emails reveal

The bulk of the story is about a 2-day strike scheduled for the near future, and the possibility of a longer strike starting in June.

But the thing that caught my attention is that there seems to be real dissatisfaction of the class of folks known as “junior doctors.”

Other options include a mass resignation of trainees; recommending doctors seek alternative employment; recommending careers outside medicine, and “alternative forms of permanent action”.

The UK already has something of a doctor shortage. There have been cases of non-English-speaking doctors causing death because they can’t communicate with their patients. The current set of strikes is about a mandatory increase in hours and not paying for the time. The doctors are a union since they are just another class of government worker.

Ain’t socialism grand.