Thursday, May 04, 2006

Hospital Crime

I’ve just been listening to an interview on BBC Radio Kent about QEQM Margate Hospital servers running slow because they are “stuffed” with personal music, iTunes etc.

Not a problem says the QEQM spokesman. I beg to differ.

Is our local health authority insane as well as broke? What is personal content doing on NHS servers and has anyone ever heard of eCrime or Netcrime?

If content like this is on hospital computers, Lord knows what other “malicious” content might be on board and capable of stealing confidential and personal patient or hospital authority information. What the hell is going on as regards the hospital’s own acceptable use policy in the middle of an online crimewave.

I had a word with the BBC earlier and their report says:

"Staff were downloading music for use on their MP3 playersStaff at a Kent hospital have been banned from downloading music and videos from the internet after they clogged up its main server.

The problem came to light at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital (QEQM) in Margate when a new server was being installed.

The work took half a day longer than it should because there were so many files downloaded for use on MP3 players.

Manager Stuart Nesbit said patient records were not affected.

"Separate clinical systems run all the various packs for X-rays and so on," he said.

"The only things that were compromised were access to Word documents and that sort of thing."

He said the server was five years old and due to be replaced.

"We looked at what these large files were and they were deleted.

"An email went round to people explaining that it was unacceptable practice."

East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust is now looking at computer systems at its other large hospitals, the Kent and Canterbury at Canterbury and the William Harvey at Ashford to see if they have the same problem. "


Anonymous said...

You are the expert on systems security but I do know that a friends MRI scan report was delayed the other week and the excuse given was 'computer failure'- now we know why. Quite clearly staff at QEQM are underworked if they have time during working hours to search the web; download tunes and any other material that then overloads a system preventing its use to assist the care of patients!

Andy Pandy said...

Oh dear, those poor workers must be feeling really bad. To be honest it's not their fault. If I was working on a system that allowed me to install a legal file sharing program then I would assume it was because the IT department had allowed it.

It is extermely simple to lock down computer networks and I would gladly spend a morning, or 15 minutes ;), explaining to the hospital how they stop this sort of thing happening again.

I was first given internet access at work in 1997 and I now couldn't imagine working in an office environment without it. I can remember reading T H I S (dated) report a few years back and it made me chuckle. Given the tools that are available at the moment, it is easy to target internet abusers in the office.

Anonymous said...

I work in a central Government law office and the whole of our department is protected by profanity filters which blocks everything from swear words in emails to picking up people trying to access inappropriate material, which might be music downloads (inappropriate because it's an abuse of the system)through to indecent images.