How Does the NHS Protect Personal Data?

For the NHS, data protection is vital.

NHS England helps an average of 36 million patients a day. It holds the health records of the majority of the British population. And these contain highly sensitive information.

The WannaCry incident of May 2018 highlighted the danger of cyber-attacks for large organisations.

Since then, NHS England has worked to maximise the security of software.

Here, we explore how it has managed to do this.

Electronic Patient Records

Electronic Patient Records (EPR) provide a safe alternative to paper documents. Unlike the latter, electronically-stored data can be held in one place.

While hard copies are often easy to mislay, computers and laptops – where EPRs are stored – usually aren’t. Thanks to the latter, important details are less likely to come into the wrong hands.

A login process adds to its security benefits. To access an EPR, staff must carry a smartcard and a PIN; without these, you can’t get in. Even better, doctors and specialists can only view information relevant to the patient at that specific time.

It guarantees complete personal data protection. As a result, it has transformed NHS trusts throughout the UK.

Technology Updates

In order to prevent another cyber-attack, NHS England has invested in a major software update.

Many people blamed its 17-year-old operating technology as the cause for the assault. To enhance its data protection, NHS England signed a deal to upgrade all PCs to Windows 10.

Likewise, the UK government has continued to invest in infrastructure and software for the organisation. Last year, the health department pledged to spend £150m over three years on this initiative.

System advancements could mean that NHS information remains secure for years to come.


General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has helped to enhance client security across industries. The law, which came into effect throughout Europe on May 25, 2018, was created to modernise information regulations.

It delivers a uniform approach to handling personal data safely and effectively. One of its key aims is to help organisations avoid cyber assaults.

In future, GDPR may enable NHS facilities to prevent another cyber security breach like WannaCry.

It is already helping the service to enhance how it protects customer data. Thanks to this regulation, customer information can be stored safely.

Like any service, NHS trusts have a duty to keep user information safe. Technology, laws and a dedication to patient safety have helped NHS resources to achieve this.

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