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.

Drunk Surgical Nurse Still on the Job – It is the .gov After All

He got a ticket for DWI on his way to assist in an emergency surgery. VA nurse accused of working while drunk still on job

Police charged Richard J. Pieri, 59, of Drums, with recklessly endangering another person, driving under the influence of alcohol and other offenses earlier this week for allegedly showing up at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., to help in a surgery after he had been drinking the night of Feb. 4.

Bad enough that he was drunk driving, but then he scrubbed into a surgery.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs wants to know why he still has a job. In a word: unions. I doubt they will be able to fire him. Is showing up for a surgery while drunk a crime? Probably should be, but he won’t be charged or fired. He might get a slap on the wrist. Or at least that is my prediction.

What Happens When the Bean-counters Are in Charge of Health Care?

Cut costs enough, and you won’t have the staff or facilities you require to the get the job done. The UK is finding that out. ‘If you’re not dying, go home’, overwhelmed A&E staff tell waiting patients over tannoy

So you go the Emergency Room (Accident & Emergency Ward in the parlance of the UK), only to be told to go home if you aren’t dying. Does that mean if my leg is broken I am supposed to crawl home and come back another day? Probably.

The extraordinary situation unfolded at the North Middlesex Hospital in Edmonton, North London on Friday night. It has struggled to cope for two years since an A&E unit the Prime Minister pledged to stay open closed.

The NHS is usually (though not always) held up as an example of the great care we could have if only we would sign up for socialized medicine. In reality they don’t have the doctors and nurses they need – because really, if you are smart enough to be doctor, do you really want to work for a government bureaucrat? Things are so bad that the doctors went on strike last month.

And they have “post-code lotteries.” Which means you can only get certain drugs (hey, they are expensive!) if you live in certain areas. Yeah, that would work really well in the USA.

But anyway, they couldn’t handle the influx on a Friday night. And they were forced to admit it.