Everyone is asking “Where is Jeremy Hunt?” amid chaos in the NHS after what has been called an “unprecedented cyber attack.”
The health service in the UK is in pain after the recent hack in which computer systems were hit with ransomware.
The criminals demanded electronic money or else files in the system would be deleted in seven days.
NHS England said it was a “major incident,” as the hackers attacked dozens of hospitals, with officials requesting that patients avoid going in for treatment unless their conditions were serious or life-threatening.
The Secretary of State for Health has not released a statement yet.
People on Twitter have been speculating about the health secretary’s whereabouts, saying that Hunt left Amber Rudd to deal with the problems herself.
One Twitter user wrote, “Has anybody heard from Jeremy Hunt yet? Anybody? #NHSCyberattack #nhs #StrongAndStable #dontvotetory.”
— Did ye, aye? (@AaronAdma66) May 13, 2017
— Reluctant (@IWasForReal) May 13, 2017
Biggest IT hack in history of the NHS and Jeremy Hunt is ……………. missing in action again? So much for Strong and Stable Leadership
— Mark Finn (@Finny__) May 13, 2017
Another person said, “Has Jeremy Hunt been laid low with a virus too? Has it muted him? A huge crisis in NHS history and he doesn’t appear to be around.”
Home Secretary Amber Rudd told the public not to worry, saying that in theory, patient files are backed up which makes the ransom demands meaningless.
Rudd did admit however that there may be “holes,” where data is not backed up.
She said, “there may be lessons to learn from this.”
Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, issued a statement yesterday alluding to the cyber attack.
“This cyber attack is terrible news and a real worry for patients. Our hard-working NHS staff are already operating under unprecedented pressure and should be given every support to help the public in the face of these malicious and disturbing actions.”
“This incident highlights the risk to data security within the modern health service and reinforces the need for cyber security to be at the heart of government planning.”
“The digital revolution has transformed the way we live and work, but we have to be ready for the vulnerabilities it brings too.”
“The Government need to be clear about what’s happened, and what measures they are taking to reduce the threat to patients. The safety of the public must be the priority, and the NHS should be given every resource to bring the situation under control as soon as possible.”
The hacking comes not long after the Conservatives cut security support for the NHS’s old computer system one year ago, despite warnings it would leave the hospitals vulnerable to potential attackers.
David Cameron, who set up the Government Digital Service, decided not to extend a 5.5 million one-year support deal with Microsoft Windows XP.
Bosses at the NHS were told they should replace the 14-year-old system or start an entirely new deal with Microsoft.
— K Ann. (@pattrice) May 13, 2017