Three quarters of NHS computers still running Windows 7 less than six months before support cut-off

Written by Sam Trendall on 30 July 2019 in News

DHSC indicates that more than a million machines are still on the decade-old operating system

Credit: Pixabay

With less than six months until Microsoft ceases support for Windows 7, more than three quarters of PCs across the NHS are still running the operating system.

In answer to a written parliamentary question from shadow Cabinet Office minister Jo Platt, former Department of Health and Social Care minister Jackie Doyle-Price said that the NHS operates about 1.37 million PCs. 

As of the end of last month, some 1.05 million of these – equating to 76% of the overall total – still run on Windows 7, she added.

Microsoft is ending support for the 10-year-old operating system on 14 January 2020. 

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Doyle-Price, who left her DHSC post following Boris Johnson’s reshuffle, said that the health service remains on track to upgrade to Windows 10 before that date.

“National Health Service organisations are being supported to upgrade existing Microsoft Windows operating systems, allowing them to reduce potential vulnerabilities and increase cyber resilience,” she said. “All NHS organisations, with the exception of one which had already upgraded to Windows 10, have signed up to receive Windows 10 licences and advanced threat protection. Deployment of Windows 10 is going well and in line with target to make sure the NHS is operating on supported software when Windows 7 goes out of support in 2020.”

Platt – whose parliamentary question recently revealed that there are still 2,300 computers across the NHS running Windows XP, for which support ended five years ago – claimed that the widespread use of Windows 7 is “deeply concerning”.

She added: “The WannaCry cyberattack two years ago starkly proved the dangers of operating outdated software. Unless the government swiftly acts and learns from their past mistakes, they are risking a repeat of WannaCry. Protecting public data and computer systems should be a highest priority of government but the Conservatives lacklustre [approach] is proving that they cannot be trusted to keep us safe. This new government must urgently adopt the co-ordinated approach that Labour advocates to secure our public sector.”


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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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